February 28, 2024

Newton police say 2 businesses sold tobacco to minors in compliance checks

Businesses remain unidentified but could face further licensing sanctions

Two businesses in Newton allegedly sold tobacco products to an underage customer while the local police department and the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division performed compliance checks this past week. According to a press release from Newton Police Department, neither business was identified.

Both agencies conducted their first round of tobacco compliance checks to ensure local businesses are following state law and are not selling tobacco or vape products to individuals under the age of 21. In total, 24 businesses were visited by law enforcement agencies on Feb. 7.

Police tried to purchase tobacco products with the help of an underage volunteer customer, leading to two businesses failing to meet compliance. Newton Police Department said even an employee was cited with a $135 fine. The businesses were reported to the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division.

According to the police department’s press release, the two businesses may receive further licensing sanctions as a result of their non-compliance.

Additional checks of businesses will occur throughout the year. The goal of the checks is to educate clerks, maintain a compliant retail environment in the community and keep tobacco and vapor products out of the hands of underage individuals. Newton Police Department did not respond for followup questions.

From Dec. 31, 2022 to Dec. 31, 2023, a number of Newton businesses received compliance inspections, but none had received any violations, according to data from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig has a strong passion for community journalism and covers city council, school board, politics and general news in Newton, Iowa and Jasper County.