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 cigs and alcohol. Under the new Public Health Levy, retailers are to be taxed on any store with a rate-able value of more than £300,000 which sells drink and smoking products.
Sainsbury’s head office explained: “The impact of the Levy, introduced by the Scottish Government, has led us to undertake a review of the sale of tobacco products in our Scottish shops.
“Earlier this year, we removed tobacco products from sale from three of our Scottish supermarkets and one convenience shop.”
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 smoking.
The Government was already taking action to reduce alcohol and tobacco harmful effects through regulation to introduce minimum pricing for alcohol and prohibiting tobacco displays.
“The public health supplement will contribute towards the preventative spend ordinances being taken forward jointly with the Scottish government, local authorities, the NHS and the third sector,” explained 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 stores and superstores in Fife should follow suit.
Contibutors said there were many other places where people could purchase cigarettes, while some readers felt smokers were being unfairly penalized once again. People’s intolerance of their smoking habit was out of proportion to alcohol or drug users, they added.