The efficacy of taxing sugary, fatty, and salty products should be reexamined, says British premiership frontrunner Boris Johnson.

Since April 2018, drinks containing 5 to 8 grammes of sugar per 100 millilitre have been taxed 18p per litre; those containing more are taxed 24p.

Johnson’s announcement proved controversial, contradicting his policies and statements as Mayor of London.

Health Minister Matt Hancock had also planned to recommend extending the sugar tax to milkshakes; last November, Treasury Secretary Robert Jenrick praised the sugar tax’s “positive impact”.

And today, Cancer Research UK has urged the government to combat the UK’s “obesity crisis.”

The charity warns obesity now causes more cases of liver, ovarian, kidney, and bowel cancer than smoking—with obese Britons outnumbering smokers two to one.

But Johnson’s camp argues “sin taxes” reflect “nanny state” politics, unfairly targeting lower-income households without addressing the real problem: people are uneducated about nutrition.

Hancock supported Johnson by welcoming any reviews into such levies’ effectiveness, which experts believe could avoid tens of thousands becoming obese—particularly children.

Sugar tax detractors claim it fails to change behaviour, penalises consumer over industry, and only generated £240 million annually, rather than the promised £520 million.

Should so-called "sin taxes" be reconsidered?