INDIANOLA, Iowa -- The Wal-Mart Supercenter and another business here have lost their licenses to sell tobacco products for one year for selling cigarettes to minors.
The businesses can, and probably will, apply to have the licenses reinstated once they show a change in their internal age-verification processes.
"We believe it is one of the first revocations in the country," said Bob Brammer, spokesman for the Iowa Attorney General's office. It was certainly the first in Iowa, he said.
"There was no excuse for it to happen, and we're going to do what it takes to get it fixed," said Jessica Moser, Wal-Mart spokeswoman. "We are retraining and testing everyone." No employees have been fired, she said.
The Indianola City Council voted unanimously to revoke the licenses after underage testers bought cigarettes four times over the past three years at both the Wal-Mart and at the Dell Oil Ltd. Phillips 66 service station, according to city clerk Todd Kielkopf.
"Our police department does compliance checks [on cigarettes] just as you would for alcohol," Kielkopf said. "We had discussions with them. They had their attorneys and managers there," he said of Wal-Mart.
"Basically, they have the option to come to the city with a plan and change their procedures," he said. The city issues the licenses to sell tobacco products, although the state code dictates the penalties.