Smokers hit in the pocket as cigarettes soar above £10

Stubbing out a cigarette
Stubbing out a cigarette

Chancellor Philip Hammond's Autumn Budget has left smokers huffing and puffing after the price of a pack of premium cigarettes went up to £10.80 - an increase of 28p.

For a 20-a-day smoker, that adds up to an extra £178.85 a year.

Under Hammond’s tobacco duty hike, an average pack of 20 fags - such as Benson & Hedges - went up to £9.30.

The shock increase – the second in 2017 – came into effect at 6pm last night.

It means we live in one of the most expensive places in the world to be a smoker. In Belgium smokers pay around £5.70 for a pack of 20, while in Spain 20 fags are just below £4.

Tobacco campaigners responded angrily to the announcement of another increase in duty.

Simon Clark, director of the tobacco lobby group Forest, said the tax hike will choke poorer smokers who are “less well off”.

He said: "This is the second increase this year. Tobacco duty is already punitively high.

“Once again the poor are being sacrificed on the altar of public health.

"The prime minister famously said her government wanted to help those who are just about managing.

“Instead of helping, the chancellor will push more people into poverty unless they quit smoking or turn to the black market.

"Thanks to the chancellor more and more smokers will buy illicit tobacco at home or purchase their tobacco abroad.

“The loss of revenue to the Treasury will far outweigh any health benefits to the nation.”