The Estherville Police Department has taken a pledge to keep tobacco out of the hands of Estherville youth.
It's called the Iowa Pledge, and it's a partnership with the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD) to educate local retailers and to enforce Iowa's tobacco laws. The Iowa Pledge has helped increase statewide tobacco compliance to a rate of 92 percent since it began in 2000. By partnering with the ABD, the Estherville Police Department will look to do its part in continuing the upward trend.
Clerks who successfully complete an online training program and pass an exam will be Iowa Pledge Certified and the local retail establishment will receive an affirmative defense against a civil penalty if the certified clerk makes an illegal sale. To take the training or search Iowa Pledge certification records go to ipocp.iowaabd.com:8080/portal.
"The Iowa Pledge Retailer Training Program is a great way for clerks to prepare themselves to refuse illegal tobacco sales," Chief Eric Milburn said. "The training will help retailers maintain a compliant and responsible establishment."
Also as a part of the Iowa Pledge Program, Estherville police officers will be conducting compliance checks on local establishments. Underage customers under the supervision of law enforcement officials will enter establishments and attempt to buy tobacco products. Clerks who make the illegal sale will be cited on the spot.
Criminal penalties for selling tobacco to a minor include a $100 fine for a first offense, a $250 fine for a second offense and a $500 fine for third and subsequent offenses.
However, handing out citations is not the intent of the Iowa Pledge Program.
"By partnering with the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division, we hope to educate clerks and maintain a compliant retail environment in our community," Chief Eric Milburn said. "Moreover, we pledge to help keep tobacco out of the hands of Iowa's youth."