They are participating in the I-PLEDGE program. It’s a partnership with the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division to educate local retailers and enforce Iowa’s tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor product laws.
As part of the I-PLEDGE program, deputies will conduct compliance checks on establishments in Linn County. Underage customers, under the supervision of law enforcement, will try to buy tobacco products and clerks who make the illegal sale will be cited on the spot. Fines range from one hundred to five hundred dollars, depending on how many times they’ve been caught selling to a minor.
But handing out citations is not the intent of the I-PLEDGE program. Instead, the emphasis is on retailer training. Clerks who successfully complete an online training course and then pass an exam will become I-PLEDGE certified – that allows a retailer to use an affirmative defense against a civil penalty if the certified clerk makes an illegal sale.
Retailers who would like to take the I-PLEDGE training can go online to abd.iowa.gov.