The state’s done a sweep of retailers who sell tobacco, and is out with a good report card. The good news is, 87-percent wouldn’t sell to underage buyers. Administrator Lynn Walding at the state’s alcoholic beverage division says several regions got a perfect score when it came to “just saying NO.” In eleven counties, every single retailer turned down the decoys. Walding says the state can’t take credit for the improving numbers of shopkeepers in compliance with the law. He credits retailers and their clerks knowing the law. Walding says the state couldn’t do it without local law-enforcement people, who educate the public and help conduct the “sting” compliance checks. And he says the “Iowa Pledge” program has raised awareness.He says responsibility lies with retailer, clerk and the kids. There are fines and penalties for all three if they violate the law, but Walding says he expects to see even more counties with a 100-percent compliance rate next time the checks are done. What about people who complain the state shouldn’t be getting clerks in trouble for selling tobacco to kids?Most confirmed smokers started when THEY were underage, and the program doesn’t cost tax money, it’s done with tobacco-settlement funds.
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