The Cedar Falls Police Department has taken a pledge to keep tobacco, alternative nicotine, and vapor products out of the hands of Cedar Falls underage persons.
Known as I-PLEDGE, the program is a partnership with the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD) to educate local retailers and to enforce Iowa's tobacco, alternative nicotine, and vapor product laws. Since the program's inception in 2000, the statewide tobacco compliance rate has grown to 90 percent. By participating in the program, the Cedar Falls Police Department has committed to doing its part to increase the compliance rate even more this year.
I-PLEDGE places emphasis on retailer training. Clerks who successfully complete an online training course and then pass the exam will become I-PLEDGE certified. This allows a retail establishment to use an affirmative defense against a civil penalty if the certified clerk makes an illegal sale.
Officers will also be conducting compliance checks on local establishments as part of the IPLEDGE program. Underage customers, under the supervision of law enforcement officials, will enter establishments and attempt to buy tobacco, alternative nicotine, and vapor products. Clerks who make the sale will be cited on the spot.
Criminal penalties for selling tobacco, alternative nicotine, and vapor products to a minor include a $135 fine for first offense, a $325 fine for a second offense, and a $625 fine for third and subsequent offenses. However, handing out citations is not the intent of the I-PLEDGE program.
To take the I-PLEDGE training or search certification records go to https://abd.iowa.gov/.
Lt. Dennis O’Neill | Cedar Falls Police Investigative Unit