ECigIntelligence style guide: notes for analysts

This is a shortened version of the style A-Z, containing only those items which may be of particular relevance or use to analysts.


acronyms should be in lower-case if commonly pronounced as words – e.g. Anvisa, DG-Santé, Evali; initialisms, in which each letter is pronounced, are in upper-case (and note this includes the WHO)

acts and bills – a bill is a proposed piece of legislation. An act is a piece of legislation passed into law. Both terms are lower-case, except in the names of specific items of legislation. The act bans ostrich-flavoured e-liquid. He is sponsoring the Protection of Ostriches Bill. Note the use of capital initials in the bill title

advertisement / advertising – an advertisement is a physical thing such as a poster, printed ad or TV commercial; the abstract noun for the practice of using advertisements is advertising

AIO – spell out all-in-one in full on first mention (AIO in brackets)

attribution – it is not usually necessary to state that remarks were made in a press release, at a conference, in an interview etc. Plain old said usually suffices, though in the case of an exclusive interview, told ECigIntelligence can highlight the exclusivity.

banned locations – when we list places where public vaping is banned, it’s good to put the most important first, in terms of impact on consumers (and therefore demand)

Big Tobacco – capped to avoid ambiguity. Essentially this term refers to the major multinational cigarette producers; a big tobacco firm might not be a Big Tobacco firm

bullet points – each item in a bullet-pointed list should be no more than two or three lines of text in Word (though longer is acceptable in executive summaries). There should be no more than about five bullet points in a series.

capitalisation of names – generally, company, organisation and product names should have an initial cap and then be lower-case, but variations such as internal caps are fine where the name is better known and more recognisable that way (iPod). All caps may be used for short names if that is how the company presents itself and it looks odd otherwise; but it is unlikely to be the best option for longer ones (Skycigs not SKYCIGS).

click here – it’s best for linked text to read like an ordinary sentence, rather than an instruction to “click here”. So, rather than to read our report, click here, try something like our latest report on Ruritania covers this in detail

CMR – means (substances that are) “carcinogenic, mutagenic, or reprotoxic” and should be spelled out in full on first mention

convenience store (can be abbreviated c-store only after first use) – a small retail business that stocks a range of everyday items such as groceries, snack foods, confectionery etc. A tobacconist, being a specialist, is not a convenience store

currencies – where a sum of money in a not-widely-familiar currency is of major importance to an article, give it in the local currency using the standard three-letter abbreviation, then an approximation in US dollars and euro in brackets, rounding to a sensible nearby sum. So, XFJ2.05 ($3.50, €2.50). If you are mentioning a long series of price points in an article, you could convert just the first one. You can use the £, $ and € symbols; otherwise use the standard three-letter abbreviation for the currency.

dates are in the format 1st January 2001

distance sales are any sales where the purchaser is at a distance from the seller, so they include old-fashioned mail order as well as online; all cross-border sales are distance sales, but not necessarily vice-versa

distribution generally refers to wholesale; when discussing retail, use “retailing”, “sales channels” or similar

ECigIntelligence – refer to us exactly that way and only that way. Note the internal caps and that we don’t use the .com when referring to the publication. Do not use ECI, ECigIntel, E-cigIntelligence or any other variant, in any circumstances.

Glo – takes a capital initial

Heets a.k.a. HeatSticks – lower-case (not HEETS). Heets and HeatSticks are PMI names for its consumables for Iqos and should never be used to refer to any other product; Neostiks for Glo are a competitor product – BAT does not make Heets and there cannot be any Heets Neostiks!

Iqos – now capital initial only

Iqos kit: the box which includes the charger, the holder (collectively, the “device”) and cables
Iqos holder: what you put the Heets in and your mouth around
Iqos charger: what you put the holder in (said to look like a mobile phone)
Heets (in some markets known as HeatSticks): the tobacco-containing consumables

-ise or -izewe use -ise – organise, realise – unless a company or organisation or publication or product name uses the z, such as the World Health Organization.

measurements – use the metric system with the standard abbreviations, and a space between the number and the abbreviation: 1 kg, 6 km, 32 mg/ml.

minors – While it is now 18 in most countries, the age of majority is not the same everywhere (Wikipedia has a useful list here); it is therefore vital in cases of age-related regulation to specify the relevant age – and in that case the word “minors” will usually become redundant, e.g. under-18s, not minors under the age of 18 etc.

n for sample size should not be capped; capital N stands for overall population size

numbers – spell out one to ten, use figures thereafter: one, two, ten, 11, 1,000, 10,000, 1m, 1bn, 1tn. A billion is a thousand million, a trillion is a thousand billion. Numbers take decimal points when they are broken down into cents and pence – not commas. So €8.47 not €8,47 and 29.9% not 29,9%. We use commas to break up complete numbers with more than three digits: €2,000 times ten is €20,000 (but note €20,000.67 where 67 is the number of cents).

percentages are written as 99%. Be careful – accurate and clear – when dealing with percentages of percentages.

place names – use the most commonly accepted English spelling – thus Brussels and Milan, not Bruxelles and Milano. Where an older Anglicised spelling has been supplanted by a new one that is now mainstream in English, use the new one: so Beijing and Mumbai, not Peking and Bombay. Major world cities can stand without further clarification: for smaller places, indicate the country or, for American cities, the state. So London, Tokyo, Chicago but Dundee, Scotland and Portland, Oregon. The key question is: will a reader in a different country understand which city I mean from the city name alone?

quotes – introduced by a colon unless a mere fragment contained within a sentence. Barnaby Page said: “The best style is whatever readers can understand best.” Establish who is speaking right away – by the end of the first sentence at the latest. “It’s important not to confuse our readers,” said Page. Use double quotes “like this”, except for quotes within quotes, where you should use single quote marks, ‘like this’.

sanction – one of those awkward words with two contradictory meanings; better to use penalties or penalised, or a phrase such as “renders X liable to a fine of…” when that’s what meant.

sanitary – public health; the “Sanitary Inspection” is the public health inspectorate

Scandinavia properly comprises Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Use Nordic nations if you want to include Finland and Iceland too.

Smok – not SMOK

states of the US – it is not necessary to append the word state to a state name unless there is scope for confusion with a city. So: Kentucky, Louisiana, but Washington state, New York state (but even then you don’t need state if it is obvious from context). Spell state names out in full. The word state does not need an initial capital.

titles – titles of books, magazines, newspapers, films, TV shows, websites etc. are capitalised, but not italicised or in quote marks. The Turn of the Screw, The Huffington Post. Titles of articles within journals, chapters within books, etc, should be within double quote marks and have an initial cap only. “An analysis of e-cigarette usage among teenagers” was published in The British Journal of Whatever. Titles of legal acts and bills take initial capitals – e.g. the Tobacco Act, the Protection of Young Persons Bill

UK comprises (at least for now…) four countries (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland). Great Britain comprises only the first three, and the term should be avoided. But British is an acceptable adjectival form to refer to the whole of the UK. Remember, though, that laws passed at Westminster are often specific to England and Wales and separate legislation is required for Scotland and Northern Ireland, so be careful using “British” in that context. The Republic of Ireland is an entirely independent nation.

US rather than USA or United States. Can be used as both adjective and noun – US distributors, manufacturers in the US. Now without points, to be consistent with UK etc. Take care with American, which is liable to upset both pedants and Canadians.

vapour – the stuff that comes out of an e-cig that the user inhales is vapour (with a u), not vape or steam (and certainly not smoke!!). You can use aerosol if you need variety, but some people dispute that it’s accurate, and in any case it might be confusing to vary terminology.


Style guide introduction and general principles >

Full style guide A-Z >

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