A former senior police officer in Northern Ireland has warned that plans to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes could amount to a smugglers’ charter.
Peter Sheridan, a former PSNI Assistant Chief Constable with 30 years’ experience, said the introduction of plain packaging would make it more difficult for police to detect counterfeit cigarettes.
A UK-wide consultation launched in May asked the public whether tobacco packaging should be changed or if a different option should be considered. Health Minister Edwin Poots has backed plain packaging.
But Mr Sheridan, now the boss of peace-building group Co-operation Ireland, said that "all too often people with good intentions don’t stop to think about the wider impact their policies will have".
"My fear is that introducing plain packaging for cigarettes will make life easier for criminals — instead of having 200 different designs of packs to copy there would be just one," he said. "Plain packets could be a smugglers' charter."