In the spring of 2000, the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD) began the I-PLEDGE Tobacco Enforcement and Training Program. The overall goal of this program is to increase voluntary compliance with the state's tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor product laws through education and enforcement.
The core objective of the program is to prevent illegal sales of tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor products by educating retailers and increasing awareness of changes in Iowa's tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor product laws. The I-PLEDGE Retailer Training is offered online at no costs. After successfully passing the final test, participants will receive a printable certificate. The certificate is valid for a period of two years. Establishments choosing to participate in I-PLEDGE Retailer Training are granted an affirmative defense, which may be used once in a four-year period. A business may avoid civil prosecution if a tobacco, alternative tobacco or vapor product sale-to-minor occurs in their establishment. In order for the business to take advantage of the affirmative defense, the employee guilty of the violation must have been I-PLEDGE certified prior to the time the offense occurred. Only the business is eligible to avoid civil penalty, the guilty employee will still be subject to a fine and his/her certification will be revoked. However, the training may be retaken for recertification.
In addition to retailer training, enforcement of Iowa’s tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor laws is also part of the I-PLEDGE program. Enforcement is conducted in partnership with state, county, or local law enforcement agencies. ABD contracts with agencies for compliance checks at all tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor product retail outlets located within their jurisdictions. Reimbursement is made by the ABD for each compliance check conducted. Retailers receive monthly notifications of compliance checks conducted at their establishment and those found to be in non-compliance are urged to fortify their efforts to eliminate tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor products sales to minors.
The I-PLEDGE program asks:
- Iowa's kids pledge to not use tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor products
- Iowa's retailers to pledge not to sell tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor products to kids
- Iowa's law enforcement professionals to pledge to enforce tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor product laws in the state
E-mail IAPledge@IowaABD.com for additional information regarding the I-PLEDGE Enforcement Training Program.