It's not been a good week for smokers. Earlier this week, we warned that 20-packs of cigarettes may soon cost UK smokers at least a tenner each.

And lo, that poor news for cig fans has come to pass, as the UK's Chancellor Philip Hammond slapped smokers with a second tax increase on tobacco and cigarettes in less than a year in his Autumn Budget speech today.

To make things worse, the new tax rate will take effect from 6pm today, so at our time of publishing you've got about 15 minutes to buy them at current prices. If you're giddy for the ciggies, it might be a plan to pop out and stock up now.

This sort of thing usually happens after the budget, which is the UK government's annual financial statement and its opportunity to increase the amount of tax it raises from the sales of products like tobacco, alcohol, and petrol.

The government uses an annual 'escalator' which works out how much the tax goes up on certain products each year.

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In the last budget this past March, Hammond announced his decision to move from a spring Budget to an autumn Budget from now on.

A weird side-effect of having another budget this year is that the tax increase on tobacco and cigarettes that was announced in March - and applied in May - will be applied again today. Unlucky.

Currently, according to the escalator, the price of cigarettes and cigars goes up by two percentage points above the rate of inflation each year. On rolling tobacco you can add an extra one percentage point on top of that.

Inflation in the UK at the moment stands at 2.9%, meaning that the total increase will be 4.9% on cigarettes and 5.9% on tobacco.

The average price of a 20-pack of cigarettes was £9.91 ($13.10) as of March this year. If you increase that by another 4.9% you're now looking at £10.40 ($13.83) for an average pack of 20. Wowzers.

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If you already smoke 20 a day, that'll add up to about an extra £178.85 ($237.76) a year that you're going to spend on your nicotine fix.

The UK government is really clamping down on smoking - in July it announced a new tobacco control plan which it hopes will drastically reduce the number of people smoking by 2022.

That means if you're wondering how to avoid the increase, the only real solution we can suggest is probably the one solution you don't want to hear... Might be time to stop smoking.

Featured Image Credit: PA

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