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Linn County Sheriff’s Office Taking I-PLEDGE

The Linn County Sheriff’s Office is taking the I-PLEDGE.

It’s a pledge to keep tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor products out of the hands of Linn County youth.

The I-PLEDGE program is a partnership with the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division to educate local retailers and enforce the law. Since the program started in 2000, the statewide tobacco compliance has grown to 91-percent. 

The emphasis is on retailer training. Clerks who successfully complete an online training course and then pass an exam will become I-PLEDGE certified. This allows a retailer to use an affirmative defense against a civil penalty if the certified clerk makes an illegal sale.

Linn County deputies will be conducting compliance checks on local retailers, with underage customers attempting to buy tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor products under their supervision. Clerks who make the illegal sale will be cited on the spot.

Criminal penalties for selling those products to a minor include a $135 fine for a first offense, a $325 fine for a second offense and a $645 fine for third and subsequent offenses. But the Linn County Sheriff’s Office says handing out citations is NOT the intent of the I-PLEDGE program. 

Sheriff Brian Gardner says their hope is to educate clerks and maintain a compliant retail environment in the community – and furthermore, pledging to keep tobacco products out of the hands of Iowa’s youth.

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