Cerro Gordo Sheriff’s Office partners with Iowa Department of Revenue to reduce underage tobacco sales

Sheriff’s Office Joins I-PLEDGE commitment

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(ABC 6 News) – The Cerro Gordo County Sheriff’s Office and the Iowa Department of Revenue will start a partnership to keep tobacco and nicotine related products away from underage county residents.

The I-PLEDGE program will educate local retailers on Iowa’s tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor product laws while also taking more steps to enforce state laws.

The program began in 2000 and has raised state tobacco compliance to 91% since.

The program homes in on retailer training, offering clerks an online training course to become I-PLEDGE certified. The program teaches proper procedures in the attempt of an illegals sale.

Becoming certified offers a retail establishment an affirmative defense against civil penalty if a certified clerk makes an illegal sale.

According to Cerro Gordo Kevin Pals, “the training also assists retailers to ensure they maintain a compliant and responsible establishment.”

According to the sheriff’s office, deputies will conduct compliance checks on local vendors as part of the program. In the checks, underage customers will attempt to illegally buy tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor products under the supervision of law enforcement.

Store clerks who make an illegal sale will receive criminal penalties on the spot; this includes a $135 fine for a first office, $325 for a second and $645 for third and following offenses.

“By partnering with the Iowa Department of Revenue, we hope to educate clerks and maintain a compliant retail environment in our community,” said Pals. “Moreover, we pledge to help keep tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor products out of the hands of underage persons in Iowa.”