The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division has rolled out an on-line training program for store clerks who sell tobacco.  A-B-D spokesperson, Tony Dusold says the on-line system offers an interactive class on spotting fakes I-D’s and other tips to avoid selling to minors.

Dusold says the old program had local police teaching classes countywide and clerks would have to drive to the class and take the two-hour course, and then they would sign up and take a test on-line to get their certification. Now the whole process is on-line. It’s part of the “Iowa Pledge Program” where retailers pledge not to sell tobacco to minors.

Dusold says the new system allows clerks to complete the course at any time. She says the course lasts between an hour and an hour-and-a-half and then they take the test, and if they pass, they can print their certificate right from the internet. The course is voluntary, but Dusold says it is recommended to help retailers avoid problems with illegal sales.

Dusold says the certification gives retailers what’s called an “affirmative defense” that can be used once in a four year period to allow the employer to avoid a penalty if the employee accidentally sells tobacco to an underage person. The clerk who sells the tobacco illegally still has to pay a $100 fine. Dusold says it gives the retailer a break because they have been probative in getting their employees trained.

Dusold says the new on-line system should make it much easier for people to get the training. Dusold that’s especially true in the more rural areas of the state, where there were many times when a class would be scheduled and only one person would sign up, so they wouldn’t hold the class. So the person who needed the training had to go to another county to be trained and might have to wait months to take the class.

Dusold says the old classes used videos that would become outdated if the law changed, while the on-line system uses animation that can be easily updated for any changes in the law. The change should save some money as the division was paying law enforcement to hold the classes.

You can find the course on-line at: