The Scott County Sheriff’s Office has taken the I-PLEDGE to keep tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor products out of the hands of minors in Scott County.

The program is a collaboration with the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD) to educate local retailers and enforce Iowa’s tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor product laws. Since its inception in 2000, the statewide tobacco compliance rate has increased to 91%. The Scott County Sheriff’s Office is committed to doing its part to increase the compliance rate even more by participating in the program.

I-PLEDGE emphasizes retailer training. Clerks who successfully complete an online training course and pass an exam 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.

“I-PLEDGE’s retailer training is a great way for clerks to prepare themselves to refuse illegal tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor product sales,” Sheriff Lane said. “The training also assists retailers to ensure they maintain a compliant and responsible establishment.”

Scott County Sheriff’s deputies will conduct compliance checks on local establishments as part of the program. Underage customers, under the supervision of law enforcement officials, will enter stores to try to buy tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor products. Clerks who make illegal sales will be cited immediately. Criminal penalties for selling tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor 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. However, handling out citations is not the intent of the I-PLEDGE program.

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

To take the I-PLEDGE training or search certification records, click here.