Known as “I-PLEDGE,” the program is partnering with the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD) to educate local retailers and enforce Iowa laws on tobacco, alternative nicotine and steam-based products.
Since the program’s inception in 2000, the statewide tobacco compliance rate has increased to 90%. By participating in the program, the Decorah Police Department is committed to doing its part to further increase the rate of compliance this year. I-PLEDGE emphasizes training for retailers. Employees who successfully complete an online training course and then pass an exam will become I-PLEDGE certified. This allows a retail establishment to use an affirmative defense against a civil sanction if the certified clerk makes an illegal sale.
Training I-PLEDGE retailers is a way for employees to prepare to refuse illegal sales of tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor products. The training also helps retailers ensure they maintain a compliant and accountable establishment. Officers will also perform compliance checks on local establishments as part of the I-PLEDGE program. Underage customers, under the supervision of law enforcement, will enter establishments and attempt to purchase tobacco, nicotine substitutes and vapor products. The clerks who carry out the illegal sale will be summoned on the spot.
Criminal penalties for selling tobacco, replacement nicotine, and vapor products to a minor include a fine of $ 135 for a first offense, a fine of $ 325 for a second offense, and a fine of $ 645 for a third offense and subsequent offenses. However, the delivery of citations is not the intention of the I-PLEDGE program. By partnering with the Iowa Alcoholic Beverage Division, the Decorah Police Department hopes to educate clerks and maintain a compliant retail environment in the community. The Decorah Police Department is committed to helping keep tobacco, alternative nicotine, and vapor products out of the reach of underage people in Iowa.
To take I-PLEDGE training or search for certification records, go to https://abd.iowa.gov/