Scottish independents have welcomed news that six more Sainsbury’s stores are ceasing trade in tobacco on the back of a government health levy, but fear the surcharge could spread to local shops in the future.

The supermarket chain confirmed it is removing all tobacco from sites in Drumchapel, Garthdee, Hamilton, Saltcoats, Livingston and Leven in response to a Holyrood public health levy on supermarkets.

The legislation means all large retail properties in 2012-13 with a rateable value over £300,000, which sell both alcohol and tobacco, must pay the public health supplement of 9.3p, in addition to the standard poundage rate and the large business supplement.

Scottish NFRN national councillor David Woodrow said the move was “very good news for small retailers,” adding: “This so-called Tesco tax discourages supermarkets from selling tobacco but not alcohol. I’ve got to assume it’s good news for independent retailers near these Sainsbury outlets that a competitor has been taken out of circulation.”