Area Law Enforcement Agencies Participating in I-Pledge Program
(Estherville)-- Several area law enforcement agencies are once again participating in a special project intended to keep tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor products out of the hands of youth.
I-Pledge is a program being offered in conjunction with the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division to educate local retailers and enforce the state's tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor product law.
Officials say I-Plege has resulted in a 91 percent compliance in tobacco laws since its inception in 2000.
The program puts an emphasis on retailer training. Clerks who successfully complete an online training course and then pass an exam become I-Pledge certified. That in turn, allows a retail establishment to use an affirmative defense against a civil penalty if the certified clerk makes an illegal sale. Participating agencies will conduct compliance checks on local businesses as part of the program.
Criminal penalties for selling tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor products to a minor include a $100 fine for the first offense, a $250 fine for a second offense and a $500 fine for third and subsequent offenses.