Sainsbury’s is to stop selling tobacco at a further six of its Scottish stores.
The move, which has already been trialled in three other Sainsbury’s supermarkets and one Sainsbury’s Local, is in response to the Scottish government’s health levy, a supplementary charge on business rates paid by large stores selling cigarettes and alcohol.
Applied in April, the health levy applies to outlets with a rateable value of more than £300,000.
Ministers estimate that the levy will raise more than £110m during its first four years of operation.
A spokeswoman for the Scottish government said: “The public health supplement was introduced in recognition of Scotland’s well-documented health and social problems associated with alcohol and tobacco use.
“This government is already taking action fixed - to reduce alcohol and tobacco-related harm through legislation to introduce minimum pricing for alcohol and banning tobacco displays.”
Imperial Tobacco’s challenge of the Scottish government’s attempt to ban tobacco displays in Scottish shops is to be heard in the Supreme Court in London today.
The hearing is due to end later this week.
Tobacco display bans were introduced in England in April of this year. Legislation for Northern Ireland came into force at the end of October and is due to start in Wales on December 3.