The move will widen a trial launched in May at three supermarkets and one convenience shop and was made after a new health tax enforced by the Scottish Government in April. The company will stop the sale of cigs in stores in Drumchapel, Garthdee, Hamilton, Saltcoats, Livingston and Leven from this morning. A study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), commissioned by Asda, required new profits from Scottish supermarkets could be decreased by 10 per cent following the introduction of the levy. Yesterday, Tesco and Morrisons declared that they had no plans to follow Sainsbury’s. The new tobacco business rates apply to large retailers that sell smoking products and alcohol and go towards implementing the costs of problems associated with these two types of tobacco product.

A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s reported: “The influence 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.” A Scottish Government spokesperson explained: “The public health supplement was introduced in recognition of Scotland’s well-documented health and social problems associated with alcohol and tobacco smoking. “This Government is already taking new action for to reduce alcohol and tobacco use related bad effects through legislation to introduce minimum pricing for alcohol and prohibiting tobacco products displays.” Meanwhile, the legal challenge by Imperial Tobacco to legislation to ban no staffed tobacco vending machines and open cigarettes displays in stores will begin today at the Court of Session.

In spite of the new smoking ban having been overwhelmingly passed in the Scottish Parliament and twice upheld by Scottish courts, Imperial Tobacco brought its legal challenge on the basis that the Scottish Parliament does not have the right to legalize on the sale of goods in Scotland. Legislation on retail tobacco displays for large retailers was introduced in England in April earlier this year. Legislation for Northern Ireland came in to force at the end of last month and is due to come into force in Wales on December 3.