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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Supermarkets removing cigarettes from stores and selling them in petrol stations to avoid tobacco tax

CRAFTY supermarket bosses are to exploit a legal loophole to scupper a Scottish Government tax on tobacco.

Sainsbury’s said they will stop selling cigarettes and tobacco in three main stores but will keep selling the products in attached petrol stations – in a move that has triggered the interest of other supermarkets.

The Government’s so-called Tesco Tax will hit stores with a rateable value of more than £300,000, which sell both tobacco and alcohol, so it would not apply to the smaller stores

An insider at a rival chain, said: “It’s interesting that Sainsbury’s have taken this approach. There was talk about stores even opening a kiosk in their car park to get round the tax.

“But this move could solve any headaches for retailers as the tax is based on stores with rates of £300,000 that are selling tobacco.”

A Sainsbury’s spokesman said: “The impact of the public health levy, recently introduced by the Scottish Government, has led us to undertake a review of the sale of tobacco in our ­Scottish stores.
“As part of this review, we will remove tobacco products from sale from three of our Scottish supermarkets for the time being. We apologise for the inconvenience.”

The chain’s three stores in Blackhall, Edinburgh, ­Braehead, near Glasgow, and Murrayfield, Edinburgh, will stop selling tobacco but small shops attached to the petrol filling stations at Braehead and Murrayfield ­will continue to do so.

Sainsbury’s removed tobacco products from their St Andrews Square store in Edinburgh last month.
Under the tax, retailers who sell alcohol and tobacco will pay an extra £95million over the next three years.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Altria provides Richmond scholarships

Altria, the maker of well-known Marlboro cigarettes, has unveiled the first-ever winners of its Altria College Opportunity Fund scholarship program, which awards Richmond Public Schools graduates with four-year scholarships of up to $10,000 per year.

The funds can help students pay for college tuition, room and board and other academic expenses.

Altria said it would provide College Opportunity Fund scholarships for the Richmond Public Schools classes of 2012, 2013 and 2014, and provide a total commitment of up to $2 million over the next seven years.

“For many high school students the road to college is often obstructed by the reality of how to pay for it,” said Jennifer Hunter, senior vice president of corporate affairs, Altria Client Services.

“Altria is proud to help some of Richmond’s brightest students overcome the challenge of affording a college education. The College Opportunity Fund is part of our commitment to help kids develop the skills they need to be successful in the workforce, including our hometown of Richmond.”

In a note posted on its website, Altria said it had established the College Opportunity Fund for Richmond Public Schools seniors who were academically qualified to attend college but whose families could not afford the financial impact.

‘The tobacco company created the fund to complement the more than $10 million in other investments it has made since 2005 in local programs for middle and high school students in metro Richmond,’ it said.

‘An impartial third party screened scholarship applicants for eligibility based on students’ academic records, financial need, leadership and community service.’

Twelve Richmond Public Schools graduates were found to have met the program’s achievement standards.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Argentina goes graphic

Argentina is this month introducing graphic health warnings on cigarette packs, according to an IPS story.

The law requiring the inclusion of the warnings, which was enacted on June 13 last year, stipulates that health warnings must be included on the lower half of the front or back of the pack, and that a picture of the same size and illustrating the harm caused by smoking must be included on the other panel.

One side of the pack must include a free-to-call ministry of health telephone number where people will be able to seek advice on approaches to giving up smoking.

The country is one of six in Latin America and the Caribbean that have not ratified the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.