SAINSBURY’S is to remove tobacco from sale at a further six supermarkets in Scotland tomorrow.
The supermarket giant said the move is in response to the Scottish Government’s health levy, a supplementary charge on business rates paid by large stores selling cigarettes and alcohol.
Sainsbury’s already operates three supermarkets and one convenience store in Scotland that do not sell tobacco, including stores in Craigleith and St Andrew Square in Edinburgh.
The new stores covered by the change are at Drumchapel, Garthdee, Hamilton, Saltcoats, Livingston and Leven.
The health levy, introduced in April, applies to outlets with a rateable value of more than £300,000 – about 240 of the largest stores in Scotland are thought to be affected.
Ministers estimated that the levy would raise £110 million during its first four years of operation.
A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s said: “The impact of the levy, introduced by the Scottish Government, has led us to undertake a review of the sale of tobacco in our Scottish stores.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The public health supplement was introduced in recognition of Scotland’s well-documented health and social problems associated with alcohol and tobacco use.
“The public health supplement will contribute towards the preventative spend measures that are being taken forward jointly with the Scottish Government, local authorities, the NHS and the third sector.”