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Iowa Tobacco Compliance

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- Some are brave enough to try to get by the tobacco ID check, as convenience store clerk Brittany Tharp recalls.

Told him I wasn't going to sell him nothing, he wasn't really happy, but it is what it is, Tharp said.

When it comes to minors and tobacco sales, however, shes serious.

We're pretty strict about it, the law is pretty strict about it, and we haven't had any problems here.

New data released Monday shows the same story statewide. In addition to the 93% compliance rate, 27 counties statewide hit 100% compliance. Linn and Johnson County came in at 89% and 84% percent, respectively.

They all know it happens, they never know when it's gonna happen, said Sgt. Vicki Lalla with the Iowa City Police Department.

Police say when they conduct the compliance checks - using underage volunteers to attempt to buy tobacco they dont try to confuse or trick retailers.

If they're 16 they say 16, if they're 17, they say 17, Lalla said. We don't send someone in with a fake ID that shows they're over age when they are not.

The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division, which keeps track of the numbers, says the high compliance is a good sign.

I think that the retailers have been making a good effort to make sure their employees are trained how to properly check an ID, said Tonya Dusold with the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division.

Employees have more than just a moral incentive. Tharp says the fines for selling tobacco to a minor can be up to $500. Its enough of a reason for her to be mindfuleven if it meant losing that one customer.

He comes back in the store still, he just won't buy anything, Tharp said.
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