A Shell Cove woman who has worked at a tobacconist for three decades has been busted selling sweet flavoured vapes to teen girls after NSW Health went on an e-cigarette compliance blitz.
Takia Tabet, the owner of Tobacco Land on Crown Street, faced Wollongong Local Court where she pleaded guilty to selling a tobacco product to a person under 18.
"What were you thinking? This is the start of a problem (of kids becoming addicted to nicotine)," Magistrate Gabriel Fleming said to Tabet on Thursday.
Tendered court documents state Environmental Health Officers bought tobacco and e-cigarette products across the Illawarra on Monday, April 17 with the assistance of two volunteer 15-year-old girls.
The teens entered Tobacco Land and requested vapes off Tabet about 10.40am. Tabet sold the girls strawberry kiwi-flavoured e-cigarettes without asking them for their age or any identification.
The officers entered the shop shortly after the illegal sale and questioned Tabet about the incident, to which she responded: "I'm stupid ... I'm not lying, I always ask (for ID)".
The magistrate reminded Tabet of the seriousness of selling nicotine products to children, saying the offence attracts a fine of up to $11,000.
However she opted to not record a conviction, instead subjecting Tabet to a nine-month conditional release order.
Last month, the NSW Government announced $6.8 million to crackdown on the sale of illegal e-cigarettes and increase support for children addicted to vaping.
It followed the release of a University of Wollongong chemical analysis of vapes seized from school children, which showed almost all of them contained nicotine.
Read more Illawarra court and crime stories here.
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