We know we've covered smoking a lot for the past few days, but we're sorry to say to smokers in the UK: if you thought the worst was over, you haven't seen anything yet.

Yesterday we reported that the average price of a 20-pack of cigarettes in the UK has now risen to £10.40 ($13.83) following a excise increase in Chancellor Phillip Hammond's Autumn Budget yesterday, the second tax hike in a year.

If you think it's bad now, the average pack of 20 cigarettes could eventually cost smokers up to a whopping £15 ($19.96). That is, if the government decides to go ahead with proposals made in an NHS-backed report in 2015.

Credit: PA

The proposals were put forward in Achieving world-class cancer outcomes: a strategy for England 2015-2020, a document drawn up by an Independent Cancer Taskforce in an attempt to drastically cut down cancer deaths.

As tobacco is the main cause of cancer in the UK, followed by obesity, you can see why health officials are gunning for your favourite habit. The report suggests that the huge price hike should be put in place by 2020.

Last year Cancer Research UK CEO and chairman of the Independent Cancer Taskforce Sir Harpal Kumar said that the proposals needed to be put into place as soon as possible. You may be breaking into a twenty at the offie before you know it.

"We're better informed than ever about how best to prevent, diagnose and treat [cancer], and how to deliver better patient experience and quality of life," Sir Harpal said. "What's needed now is action.

"We are a long way from where we should be. Our expectation is that the Government and NHS will now make the investments required and implement this strategy with commitment and speed."

Sir Harpal Kumar. Credit: PA

NHS England's CEO Simon Stevens supported the report, saying: "The NHS will be backing this ground-breaking route map for prevention, earlier diagnosis, modern treatments and compassionate care."

While increasing the price of your ciggies obviously has the support of health bodies, crucially, it has government backing too. Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said he'd support the taskforce's report to help make the NHS 'the best in the world at cancer care'.

"I would like to thank Harpal Kumar and the Taskforce for their excellent recommendations, especially the focus on early diagnosis and how the NHS can be better at supporting people to live with and beyond cancer," Hunt said.

Sure, the government has bigger distractions at the moment, but they may well stick with this £15 target. In the circumstances it might be worth looking at a cheaper habit to take up by 2020. Like crying.

Source: Daily Express

Featured Image Credit: PA

Chris Ogden

Chris Ogden is a journalist at LADbible. He graduated from the University of East Anglia with degrees in English Literature and Creative Writing before completing his NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism. Chris has previously written for the independent culture magazine The Skinny, among other publications.

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