Supermarket kicks tobacco sales habit

Sainbury's in Leven.
Sainbury's in Leven.

LEVEN hit the national limelight this week as one of its major stores joined a crusade to improve health in Scotland.

The local Sainsbury’s superstore was one of six across the country which stopped selling tobacco products on Monday.

The stubbing out of cigarette sales marked the extension of a scheme launched at other premises earlier in 2012, in response to a Scottish Government levy.

New supplementary charges will apply on business rates paid by large stores selling cigarettes and alcohol.

Under the new Public Health Levy, retailers are to be taxed on any store with a rateable value of more than £300,000 which sells drink and tobacco products.

Sainsbury’s head office 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.

“Earlier this year, we removed tobacco from sale from three of our Scottish supermarkets and one convenience store.”

The trial has now been expanded to a further half-dozen outlets, including Leven, added the statement.

A Scottish Government spokesman 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 Government was already taking action to reduce alcohol and tobacco-related harm through legislation to introduce minimum pricing for alcohol and banning tobacco displays.

“The public health supplement will contribute towards the preventative spend measures being taken forward jointly with the Scottish government, local authorities, the NHS and the third sector,” said the spokesman.

The announcement drew over 100 comments on the Mail’s Facebook page, with some calling it a good move in terms of health, and that all other shops and superstores in Fife should follow suit.

Contibutors said there were many other places where poeple could buy cigarettes, while some readers felt smokers were being unfairly penalised once again.

People’s intolerance of their habit was out of proportion to alcohol or drug users, they said.

Others felt Sainsbury’s would start selling cigarettes again because they would lose too much money, while the firm was also praised for acting responsibly over health implications.