ECigIntelligence style guide: specific style points

When in doubt, if a particular issue isn’t covered here, it’s worth checking what we’ve done on the site before. Remember, however, that style evolves and some specifics may have changed – notably in such things as capital initials (this website is on the internet), full points (viz US), and the ownership of RJ Reynolds.




abbreviations and acronyms – generally, spell out an abbreviation or acronym in full on first use, with the shorter form in brackets immediately thereafter: Tobacco Products Directive (TPD). This may not be necessary with very well-known terms, such as Nasdaq or Unesco (who knows or cares what they actually stand for?) but always err on the side of spelling out. An MP to an American reader is as likely to be a military policeman as a member of parliament. In long pieces you may choose to spell out the full name several times in the course of the text, indicating the abbreviation/acronym in brackets each time. This may help readers who have forgotten what an earlier-mentioned acronym stands for, or who have dived into the middle of the article. 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).

accents – most of those you might need are provided by WordPress – just look under “Special character” (marked Ω in the toolbar above). Otherwise, if you don’t know how to reproduce an accent or other diacritical mark, just ignore it; don’t try to simulate it.

according to – try to avoid; use under, for example, or states (see also per, below)

acknowledged – be careful of this, as it implies that a speaker is perhaps reluctantly admitting something we know to be true; better to use a simple said or suggested (see also claim and pointed out, below)

ACNielsen is now just Nielsen

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 initial capitals but see also titles below)

administration (meaning a particular government in power) – lower-case – Biden administration

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


age ranges (of people) – spell out – they are in their thirties

Ages (Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety [Österreichische Agentur für Gesundheit und Ernährungssicherheit]) – not AGES, and do not use the before the acronym

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

Alexa – not

among – not amongst

ampersand (&) – only use in company, product etc names – never in normal text or headlines

animals, gender of – where the gender of an animal is unknown (as will almost always be the case when reporting scientific research involving animal subjects), it’s fine to use it. Of course, where gender is self-evident, you can use he or she. The hen protects her chicks, the wolf guards its lair




any more – two words

API = active pharmaceutical ingredient, and should be spelled out first time

appendices – number them in Arabic numerals

applicable on – use applicable to (laws, taxes etc are applicable to something rather than applicable on it)

Arabian Gulf not Persian Gulf

Arabic names – because of the different alphabet, there are no absolute rules for the transliteration of Arabic names into English (hence the well-known example of the variations al-Qaeda, al-Qaida, etc). Use whichever spelling a person prefers, if that is known, or seems to be most widely employed. An Arabic name consists of one or more forenames and a surname; use only the surname after first reference: Habib Abdul Kader Sharif becomes Sharif


Argentine not Argentinian  – but the country is Argentina, not the Argentine

Asda (not ASDA) is the British retailer

Asia Pacific is unhyphenated

at the moment – unless it really means right now, prefer at present or currently

attorney general, attorneys general, AG, AGs

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


Australia has six states and two territories. Be careful to describe each correctly

avoid: platform, space to mean market, always (it rarely is), never (it rarely is), unique (it rarely is), allegedly, well-known (referring to a fact – either it is, in which case the reader doesn’t need telling, or it isn’t; when referring to the status of a brand, a place, etc within a certain market, well-known is fine)




B2B, meaning business-to-business, as opposed to B2C (business-to-consumer). But avoid the latter

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)

bar, pubpub should be used only for the specifically British/Irish phenomenon. Use bar for all other kinds of alcohol-focused establishments, or more specific alternatives such as nightclub, cafe etc

Benelux denotes Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg; explain this on first mention

best-seller, best-selling


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


billion – a thousand million. Abbreviated bn: 3bn (note no space)




Blu – with initial cap (but note Myblu)

board, board of directors is lower-case

brackets should be round (thus) unless they are used to indicate a paraphrase or clarification in directly reported speech, as in “Jose [Mourinho, the Manchester United manager] had better watch out,” he said.

breakeven – adjective (breakeven point); break even – verb (we hope to break even)

breakout – noun; break out – verb

breakthrough – noun; break through – verb

breakup – noun; break up – verb

bricks-and-mortar (to indicate shop-based retail). Plural, and hyphenated

Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum subscribers – capped

British Columbia, not Colombia. The provincial capital is Victoria (not Vancouver), on Vancouver Island

bubble gum

bullet points – We love bullet points, especially in our longer reports. But writing ordinary prose and then putting a bullet at the beginning of every paragraph does not magically create a concise bulleted list!

Ideally, 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), and there should be no more than about five bullet points in a series; too many and they lose their impact.

Bullet points also gain much of their value from their contrast with ordinary continuous prose. For this reason, it’s not ideal to have a whole section of a report consisting entirely of bullet points, let alone a whole report.

When in doubt, write prose. When you can express your meaning on one aspect of a topic perfectly in a sentence or two, or when you’re simply listing things, consider bullet points.

Style of bullet points:

  • Start each point with a capital letter and no punctuation at the end
  • If there are two or more sentences in a bullet point, then use punctuation. In fact, you would also go back and put a full point at the end of the first bullet point.
  • Otherwise, only the final bullet point has the punctuation at the end.

business names – capped (The Little Vape Shop, not The Little vape shop). Very rare exceptions are names like iPod

buyout – noun; buy out – verb



bylines – go at the end of the article in this form:

– Barnaby Page ECigIntelligence staff

This is in addition to the byline at the top automatically inserted by WordPress.

Multiple bylines are in the form:

– Barnaby Page and Freddie Dawson ECigIntelligence staff


– Freddie Dawson ECigIntelligence staff and Jane Jones marketing manager, WonderCigs

It looks a bit indulgent to byline more than two or three people on a single article, unless it’s a truly major piece of work that will bring down governments, change the course of civilisation and so on. When only “ECigIntelligence staff” is bylined, it’s not italicised.




c-store – lower-case c, but spell out convenience store on first use (and see convenience store below)

CAGR – compound annual growth rate – spell out on first use

Canada has provinces and territories.  Be careful to describe each correctly

cannabis – there’s a great deal of confusion around over the terms cannabis, hemp and marijuana, which are often used as if they were interchangeable: media outlets and regulators may be as guilty in this respect as hippies and CBD retailers. We, however, need to be as clear and unambiguous as we can. So:

  • Avoid using marijuana unless it’s absolutely unavoidable – in most cases it’s either recreational cannabis or medical cannabis; in any case it’s cannabis.
  • Use hemp only for the plant, unless referring to the product known as hemp oil, or to the fibres used in ropes or clothing; industrial hemp may be used to distinguish strains of the plant that are low in THC and grown for other purposes.
  • Cannabis, or Cannabis sativa, is generally the plant in all its forms – but as the word is widely used for the drug extracted from it, when talking about extracting other things (e.g. CBD), it’s best always to stipulate the cannabis plant.
  • In general, avoid using cannabis without an appropriate descriptive phrase, e.g, the recreational drug cannabis, medicinal cannabis, or cannabis used to treat pain.
  • When specifying the particular species, it should always be named as Cannabis sativa or Cannabis sativa L – exactly like that, with capital initial and in italics. (Two other species, Cannabis indica and Cannabis ruderalis, are unlikely to be relevant to us, but the distinction is.)

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 genuinely better known and more recognisable that way (iPod). All caps is best avoided but may be used for short names up to, say, four or five characters if that is the way the company presents its name and it looks odd in upper-and-lower case; but it is unlikely to be the best option for longer ones (Skycigs not SKYCIGS). Acronyms/abbreviations can always be capped throughout, however long they are.

  • Terms such as “global positioning system”, “contiguous land area”, “industrial hemp” etc don’t require initial caps, unless in direct quote from a written source – and neither does the Department.


Catalonia not Catalunya

CBD (cannabidiol) – it’s not technically accurate to say it has no psychoactive effects, so don’t; you can say it’s non-intoxicating, that it doesn’t produce a psychoactive “high”, or that it has no psychoactive effect comparable to THC

It is not necessary, either in reports or news stories on CannIntelligence to explain what CBD is – any more than we preface every report on ECigIntelligence with a definition of nicotine…

CDC – the correct full name is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (spell out in full first time)

CEO – no need to spell out chief executive officer in full

Ceylon is properly Sri Lanka; the adjective/demonym is Sri Lankan

Channel 4


checkout, as a noun in the sense of a retail (or e-commerce) transaction

chemist – use pharmacy or pharmacist for the retail sense. Chemist is of course acceptable to describe somebody who engages in chemistry as a science


China means the People’s Republic of China in our context. The full name may be necessary to avoid confusion in stories that also mention Taiwan, in which case PRC is an acceptable abbreviation after first use of the full name

Chinese names – after first reference, use the first name (this is the surname or family name), not the last. Thus Hsu Wen-lung on first mention, Hsu thereafter. However, some Chinese people take Western forenames – Jerry Li – and in that case their names should be treated as Western names, i.e. Li after first mention

Chinese provinces – the word province is lower-case, e.g. Jiangsu province

cigalike – just like this, no hyphens

cite a reference, don’t site it

cities (British) – we ignore the old convention that only certain large conurbations in the UK can be referred to as cities. If it looks, sounds and smells like a city, it is one

city council, county council, town council unless you are using the exact name of an actual body

City of London should be capped when referring to the financial district, or more generally to the British stock-trading, banking, etc industries. Compare Wall Street

CJEU (Court of Justice of the European Union) – not ECJ

claim – be careful of this, as it implies that we don’t think the speaker is telling the truth; better to use a simple said (see also acknowledged, above and pointed out, below)

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 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








coffee shop

combustibles – a good way to distinguish traditional cigarettes, which are burned, but not the right way to refer to heated-tobacco consumables, which by definition are not combusted

commercialise – use sell, unless you mean “to make commercial”

commercialisation = sale

common sense

Commonwealth – cap C for the British one

companies and other organisations are generally singular, except where the reference to the company clearly refers to its employees as a group: PMI is looking ahead, Acme Vapes are a nice bunch of guys

company and organisation names – the preferred style is the company’s own. If in doubt, the spelling used in ordinary text (rather than logos) on their web pages is a good reference. (Note that some companies aren’t consistent themselves, in which case we just have to make a choice, opt for one style/spelling, and stick with it.)

Companies whose house style is all lower-case still get an initial cap for clarity. We don’t use Ltd, PLC, Corp, Inc, AG, SA, SpA, Pty, etc at the end of company names, unless it is necessary in complex financial/legal stories to distinguish between different entities.

compared with / tothan is often simpler and better

compass points are generally lower-case and unhyphenated, e.g. north, southwest, and the same applies when they are used as modifiers in the name of a more-or-less vague region: eastern Europe, western Canada. But they are capped when used as nouns in a well-known region name, e.g. Middle East, and of course in the names of continents.

competence / competency – usually means authority, and is better expressed that way (local governments have the authority to ban smoking in public places)

comprise – see include and comprise

concerning, regarding, with respect to – almost always redundant (concerning e-cigs, they are – why not just e-cigs are…?)

Congress (US) – non-Americans may not understand abbreviations like John Smith (Rep., Ky.). Spell it out: John Smith, the Republican representative from Kentucky

Congress, House of Representatives, Senate (US). All capped

Continent, the – use continental Europe or (better) mainland Europe to refer to the main landmass. This should only arise in stories where the UK is going against the grain and needs to be contrasted with the rest of Europe. As if!

(is) considered to be – by whom? If us, say so. The fact that we have opinions is a selling point for our products – it’s not something to be disguised

consumables – see combustibles, above


convenience store – 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

COP8 – no hyphen

counties (British) – don’t append “-shire”. Devon, not Devonshire. The word “county” isn’t used (Norfolk not Norfolk county or county Norfolk), though of course you can explain it’s a county if necessary

counties (Irish) – the term county comes before the name of the county, and is capped. Thus County Cork, not Cork County. But counties as a generic term remains lower-case

counties (US) – the term County is appended and capped when speaking of a specific county, as in Westchester County. But counties as a generic term remains lower-case

crescendo – a crescendo in music is the process of getting louder, not the loudest point. Thus, things should not reach a crescendo when what you probably mean is reach a climax.

criteria is plural – the singular, should you really need it, is criterion



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 (with no space between the abbreviation and the numerals), then an approximation in euros (for countries in Europe that do not use the euro, except for the UK, where £ stands alone with no conversion) or US dollars (for the rest of the world) in brackets, rounding to a sensible nearby sum. So, SAR200 ($53); CHF20,000 (€19,500).

We do not need to be obsessive about this. For example, if you are mentioning a long series of price points in an article, you could convert just the first one. This is particularly applicable where the point being made concerns comparative rather than absolute figures (e.g. the costs of different kinds of products within a particular market).

You can use the £, $ and € symbols; otherwise use the standard three-letter abbreviation for the currency, e.g. CAD for Canadian dollars, AUD for Australian dollars. (An unusual exception is Taiwan – NT$.) In articles about Canada and Australia, for example, keep the same style and convert to US dollars: CAD15.09 ($11); AUS45.56 ($30)

currency conversion – approximate the converted figure to the same number of decimal points as the original. So, $17.6m becomes €16.6m, but $23m becomes €22m (not €21.7m). The only exceptions are when either figure falls right on, or very close to, .5 – in which case you might want to leave that figure as .5. Obviously, this rule applies less and less the smaller the figure (it’s probably worth pointing out that $2 is only €1.90, rather than rounding the latter figure up).



Covid-19 – may, for variety, also be referred to as coronavirus

Czech Republicnot Czechia. The adjectival form is Czech




DC (not D.C.) – the District of Columbia in the US – is not a state

dashes – between words, always use a long (en) dash, like this one (–), not a less-attractive hyphen like that one (-), and a space goes on either side of the dash. The nephews – Huey, Dewey and Louie – inherited their uncle’s fortune

dates are in the format 1st January 2001

death – avoid euphemisms like passed away. As a broad rule, there is no need to refer to the cause of an individual’s death unless it is germane to the subject at hand

decades1990s etc

department – don’t say “the department”, rather always state exactly which department you mean

deregulation – no hyphen

discrepancy is a difference between two things that should be the same; it is not just a synonym for “difference”

diseases – their names are treated as normal English words, even if they are in Latin. Thus he suffered from bronchiolitis obliterans

distance sales (not distant 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

DIY – no need to spell out do-it-yourself in full

doctor is preferred to physician or MD or GP as a general term for a medical doctor; if a more precise term is applicable, use it

down under to mean Australasia – not capped

Dr X, Mr Y, Professor Z etc – not necessary

drugstore – use pharmacy

due to – usually, because is better. Due to the fact that is especially wordy




earnings, in a corporate-finance context, is broadly synonymous with profit and should not be used to indicate merely a revenue stream

EBITDA stands for earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation. It is a common accounting concept but should be spelled out on first use. The concept is useful in measuring the underlying profitability of a company as opposed to its actual cash earnings in a given year.

ECigIntelligence – refer to us exactly that way. Note the internal caps and that we don’t use the .com when referring to the publication. (This is in case we want to repurpose material in print, launch other services within country domains, etc.) Do not use ECI, ECigIntel, E-cigIntelligence or any other variant, in any circumstances.

ECJ (Court of Justice of the European Union) – use CJEU, but spell out on first reference


ecosystem – but try not to use it too much

Efsa (European Food and Safety Authority) – not EFSA, and do not use the before the acronym

eGo style – not Ego

E-Lites – note the capital L

ellipses – no space after or before them, and do not use brackets […]. We will fight…and we will win

email lower-case and unhyphenated

email addresses are lower-case, e.g., unless an extremely long address requires internal caps for legibility, e.g. ECigIntelligence always has internal caps, of course.

end point

English – we use British English, by default. But if you are quoting directly from something written in another variant of the language (e.g. American English) you do not need to change its spelling. And, obviously, we never change the spelling of proper names such as those of businesses or organisations.

etc – no full point

euro cent – two words

EU Common Entry Gate (EU-CEG) (EU platform for submitting product notifications under the TPD)

EU Directorates-General – Capitalise and hyphenate as shown. For abbreviations after first mention, keep hyphen but only initial cap of the word after the hyphen: Directorate-General of Agriculture and Development (DG-Agri); Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG-Santé)

European Commission, then EC or Commission in later references

European Union, then EU in later references: never European [Economic] Community/EEC. (The name changed with ratification of the Maastricht treaty in 1993)


Evali – if writing out in full, it’s e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury; however, it may be paraphrased as vaping-associated lung injury, or Evali (but note that it’s injury, not illness)

excerpts need to be short enough to fit the synopsis space on the site – about tweet length – and end appropriately, not just cut off for length only

expiration = breathing out; for all other purposes prefer expiry






FD&C Act – spell out Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act first time, and note the singulars


financial results stories, for us, should almost always focus on – and therefore lead with – “heated tobacco sales climbed at Megacorp” or “e-cigarettes were an unmitigated disaster for Megacorp”, not “Megacorp’s profit increased by 26%”.

first amendment (to the US Constitution) – lower-case

FMCGfast-moving consumer goods – although a very familiar term in marketing, it’s probably best to spell this out on first use. The category includes e-cigarettes and tobacco products

foldtwo-fold, three-fold etc – hyphenated

foodstuffs – why not just food, or foods?

FOPH (Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health) this is the English abbreviation, and it takes a the in front of it. Do not use other acronyms OFSP (French version) or BAG (German version).

foreign (non-English) words – get set in italics. Except in reports where things like health warnings appear in the local language

foresees does not mean requires

franchiser (not -or)

freebase – one word


fulfil ends with one l – fulfilment but fulfilling and fulfilled

fulsome means unpleasant, distasteful, unctuous. It does not mean ample.  Fulsome praise is not something you’d want





gas station – use fuel station

general – as in general rule, general principle, general overview etc – sack the redundant general

generic – use general

Glo – not glo

glycerin – no final e. Also known as glycerol

government positions, unusual terms for – many governments give unusual names to their ministers and other officials. If in doubt, explain: the chancellor of the exchequer (Britain’s finance minister), the secretary of state (the US foreign-affairs minister).

grass roots (noun), grass-roots (adjective)







handheld is one word

he and she – when talking about hypothetical people in the abstract (for example, in a story on consumer behaviour) many writers understandably wish to avoid using just the pronoun he, but alternating he and she can often look contrived, while s/he is plain ugly. A simple solution is to use other, non-gender-specific terms: the user, the customer, the consumer, the vaper, and of course they.

head shop – two words (see smart shop below)

head start

heat-not-burn – HnB can be used as an abbreviation only after being bracketed on first use: heat-not-burn (HnB)

hectares – spell out on first mention, then abbreviate to ha (150 ha)

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!

high street – not capped when referring to the generic British retail environment, but the names of particular streets (e.g. Hampstead High Street) are capped. The American semi-equivalent, Main Street, is capped even in the generic sense.

high-tech rather than hi-tech, but avoid the phrase anyway

HM Revenue & Customs. HMRC is OK on subsequent use

Holland – use the Netherlands (or just Netherlands in a headline), though Dutch is OK as an adjective

House Bill, Senate Bill – capped. Abbreviate as HB, SB with a space after: HB 361

hyphenation can add to clarity but it can also look fussy. Use it where necessary: nicotine containing e-liquid (were such a thing possible) would be the exact inverse of nicotine-containing e-liquid, but a distribution-management company would be just the same unhyphenated.

As for hyphenation within words, our general preference is to use unhyphenated forms where possible, e.g. multicoloured not multi-coloured. But if the word might look strange or unfamiliar without a hyphen, we can hyphenate it, e.g. pre-filled not prefilled.




i.e. and e.g. – full points (no comma after), but try not to use them

imply and infer – writers and speakers imply something by hinting at it; anyone can infer something by deducing it. The article implies the product is faulty. I inferred from your tone that you were angry.

important/relevant – often used by our non-English writers where significant or major might be more natural in English

in a statement – almost always redundant: said is usually enough; told ECigIntelligence is much better than said in a statement to ECigIntelligence

in line with is an overused phrase

in the near future – what’s wrong with soon?

in-built – use built-in instead

incidence rate – means specifically frequency of occurrences over time, not to be used as a synonym for e.g. levels of use. It doesn’t mean the same as “prevalence” – if “incidence rate” means anything at all in the context of product usage, it would mean the number of new users in a given period, not the total number of users.



inches – abbreviate in – 3 in. But metric measurements are much preferred

include and comprise – their implications differ. Use include where you are mentioning just some of a set: Popular pets include cats, dogs, and hamsters. Use comprise where you are referring to all of them: The pack comprised a dozen dogs.

initials – don’t assume that terms such as SE, FDA, TPD, EU-CEG, EEA, WHO etc. are instantly understood – spell them out first time, with the initials in brackets

initials in people’s names take full points – John Q. Public. But there is no need to use them unless the person is always known that way, or there is some other strong reason. If more than one initial, no space: J.Q. Public.


internal links rather than clumsily saying “As our regulatory report blah blah”, let’s try simply to embed links to our reports into natural statements: so
Finland’s vaping regulations are among the strictest in the EU” rather than “As stated in our regulatory report, Finland’s vaping regulations are…”
Wherever possible, links in TobaccoIntelligence should go to the relevant articles within TobaccoIntelligence, rather than to their ECigIntelligence equivalents.

internet – lower-case

in vivo, in vitro – italics

Ipsos (market research company). It is Ipsos MORI in the UK, but not in the US

Iqos – now with a 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

Ireland can usually be used for the Irish Republic. Where there is scope for confusion, be explicit: Irish Republic, Northern Ireland. Don’t use Eire, Ulster, Southern Ireland. The language is Irish, not Gaelic. The parliament (of the Republic) as a whole is the Oireachtas; the Dáil is the lower house, the Seanead (senate) the upper. (Referring to the whole caboodle as the Dáil is a common error.)

irregardless – use regardless

-ise or -izewe use -ise – organise, realise. Of course, if a company or organisation or publication or product name uses the z, follow that style. The World Health Organization is a notable example, as is the ISO.

ISO – the ISO is the International Organization for Standardization – note the zs and that it is not the International Standards Organisation

ISO standards – space after – e.g. ISO 9001




job titles – we don’t capitalise job titles unless they are truly one-of-a-kind to the extent that they can identify a person without the person’s name (Dalai Lama); or, in very rare cases, when they are so unusual that it wouldn’t be obvious it’s a job title to someone who didn’t already know (Grand Mufti, just maybe Chancellor of the Exchequer). But if you wish, abbreviate CEO (chief executive officer), CFO (chief financial officer), and VP (vice-president). Do not abbreviate managing director to MD because of the scope for confusion with medical doctors.


Juul – only an initial capital





kilogram is abbreviated kg – lower-case. One kilogram is approximately 2.2 pounds





labels and titles of graphs, charts, slides – Except for proper names, these should all be with initial case only. So, Smoke shop / Convenience store etc (Not Smoke Shop / Convenience Store etc)

lakh and crore – in Indian usage, these refer to the numbers 100,000 and 10m respectively, especially when describing sums of money. Translate them to conventional numbers.


Länder – itals, cap L

Latin – try to use English where possible. As such rather than per se, in its entirety rather than in toto. But Latin is not banned, per se. Familiar Latin terms that have more or less passed into English, such as ad hoc, do not need to be italicised but the longer and less familiar (de gustibus non est disputandum) should be.

lawmaker – Don’t use “the lawmaker” to mean “lawmakers” or “the legislature”


legal cases, italicising of names – lawyers frequently refer to important cases with a short form of their name in italics. Thus, writing about the case of Smith and Featherstonehaugh vs Jones, they might say “the court held in Jones that the article did not apply”. We try to avoid this, and instead say the court held in the Jones case that…. But if there’s no easy way round it, you can cite cases this way, italicising the name.

legislation – give the full name of pieces of legislation on first mention, capitalised as a title. Afterwards it can be abbreviated. Thus, the Bananas, Pyjamas, Unicorns and Unicycles Act 2005 on first use; thereafter the Bananas and Pyjamas Act or whatever other expression is commonly used. Avoid the gimmicky Washington habit of referring to legislation by contrived acronyms unless it is genuinely best known that way.

less / fewer – fewer refers to numbers, less refers to quantities: so there is less smoking, but fewer people smoke

licence – noun

license – verb

life cycle

line-up is hyphenated when a noun

links – make sure these open in a new tab; see also click here above

liquor – use alcohol instead


lockdown – noun; lock down – verb

longfill – one word, no hyphen; a 60 ml bottle containing a 20 ml flavour base (see also shortfill below)





man hour


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. But don’t be obsessive about conversion – “He felt he was two inches from death”, not “He felt he was roughly 5 cm from death”.

medical and epidemiological terminology – be extremely careful of terms like morbidity and prevalence unless you are absolutely sure of their meaning. Also bear in mind that the reader may well not understand them.

member states – no caps; generally also good to specify on first mention what they are members of (i.e. usually EU member states)





Midwest – but use it only geographically (it is not a synonym for “conservative small-town America”)

million – abbreviated m – 10m; so $62m not $62million, 2.8m vapers not 2,800,000


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.

minuscule, not miniscule


mod – lower-case

modified risk tobacco product – not caps and not hyphenated. Only use the term to refer to the specific US legal concept

money – currency comes before the figure, so €200 not 200€, AUD3m not 3m AUD etc

Mr X, Dr Y etc – no need for them; see names below






Muslims, not Moslems or any other term. The religion is Islam, but the term Islamists is limited to adherents who take specific political views

Myblu (but note Blu above)




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

Nafta is the North American Free Trade Agreement comprising Canada, the US and Mexico. Spell out on first use

names – on first mention, Jane Doe, John Smith etc, thereafter just Doe, Smith – no need to clutter things up with Mr, Ms, Dr, Prof or any other title


Nasdaq is all caps and should be referred to as the NASDAQ when a noun – Acme listed on the NASDAQ  in January

Nato membership is not very relevant to e-cigarettes, so it can be deleted from the background material in country reports

Neostiks – without a ‘c’ – are BAT’s consumables for Glo; they should never be confused with PMI’s Heets or any other competitor product

new year is uncapped, except in reference to New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day









Nu Mark and NumarkNu Mark with a space is the Altria brand, Numark without is the UK pharmacy.

number ranges – express both numbers fully, although currencies, units of measurement etc need only be appended once. $10,000-20,000. 50-60 kg. 10m-20m people.

numbered lists in text (for legislative provisions etc): (1), (2). But wherever possible, use bullet points instead

numbers – spell out one to ten, use figures thereafter: one, two, ten, 11, 1,000, 10,000, 1m, 1bn, 1tn. Where a range is being given and would include both a spelled-out number and a numerical figure, use numerical figures for both: thus, 5-11, not five-11. 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.




OEM – stands for original equipment manufacturer



offshore, onshore

OK is OK



ongoing, but don’t over-use the term, especially not on an ongoing basis

online, offline

organism – unlike French ‘organisme’, this cannot mean a group of people; use organisation, body etc




outside – no need to follow it with of


don’t over-exaggerate – just exaggerate is exaggeration enough




own-brand as an adjective is hyphenated

Oxford commas are never objectionable, and sometimes essential for understanding – the president, a sexist, and a racist refers to three people; the president, a sexist and a racist just one

oxidation (not oxidisation)





(as) per – try to avoid; use under, for example, or states (see also according to, above)

percentages are written as 99%. Be careful when dealing with percentages of percentages. If sales increase from $1m to $1.4m, and $200,000 of that is thanks to a new widget, it is correct to say the widget raised sales by 20% and also to say that half the increase in sales was thanks to the widget. It is wrong to say that of the sales growth, 20% was down to the widget. Also be careful with progressions of percentages. If the cost of the widget increases by 10% each quarter, it goes $100, $110, $121, $133.10, and so on, not $100, $110, $120, $130.

personal names – use the full name on first reference, John Smith, then just the surname, Smith. Generally there’s no need for appendages like Jr. and III. If an initial is necessary, it takes a full point – John X. Smith.

PG (propylene glycol) – spell out. See also VG


Philip Morris: We should not refer to any tobacco company simply as Philip Morris, though the error is common in the general media. Within the US, the group is now known as Altria (rhyming with Maria). Philip Morris USA is a part of this group, but e-cigs are made by another part, Nu Mark. Because it can become extremely confusing trying to explain corporate structures to readers – and largely unnecessary – we refer to them all, collectively, as Altria unless there is a powerful reason to be more precise.
Everywhere else in the world, there is a completely separate company called Philip Morris International, often abbreviated to PMI. This is the maker of Iqos.
Altria and Philip Morris International both grew out of the former Philip Morris Companies but they are now distinct – neither is a subsidiary of the other. They do collaborate extremely closely (for example by licensing each other’s products) and there has been speculation that they may re-combine into a single company again.
Note there is only one l in Philip.

photo credits go at the end of the article (after notes on the author, if present) and are in the format: Photo: John Smith

place names – hard and fast rules are difficult here, but use the most commonly accepted English spelling, not the local one – thus Brussels and Milan, not Bruxelles and Milano. But 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, in the case of American cities, the state. Thus 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?

plethora implies more than necessary, not just an abundance

pod, mod, pod mod – all lower-case

pointed out – be careful of this, as it implies that a speaker is perhaps reluctantly admitting something we know to be true; better to use a simple said or suggested (the same goes for similar words such as explained and admitted) (see also acknowledged and claim, above)

point-of-sale –  a place where things are sold, not to be confused with a selling-point, which is a reason to buy


political parties – use the correct names: Conservative not Tory, Labour not Socialist, Republican not GOP

PR – spell out public relations on first use if there is any scope for confusion








premarket is not hyphenated, primarily because the FDA doesn’t do it that way. PMTA = premarket tobacco product application


price tag

profit is singular – the company made a profit of $1m, not profits of $1m

psychologists, psychiatrists and psychoanalysts – psychologists are scientists who study the mind, and may treat mental illness, but are not doctors. Psychiatrists are medically qualified doctors. A psychoanalyst is a type of psychiatrist. In the ECigIntelligence context, we are more likely to encounter psychologists than the other two kinds.

public health is a distinct discipline from clinical medicine, largely concerned with issues such as epidemiology. In the jargon, it looks at health at a “population level” rather than at the individual level as doctors do, and is not concerned with individual patients’ outcomes. So not every health issue involving members of the public is a public-health issue. Public-health often needs to be hyphenated to make it clear that the word “public” belongs with “health” and not with another word later in the sentence – for example, a public-health announcement might well differ from a public health announcement.

pure-play is hyphenated as a noun or adjective describing a company focusing on one line of business




quarters – spell out the quarters of the year. The fourth quarter of this year, not Q4 2014


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.

quote marks – should always be smart (‘like this’) not straight, except when denoting inches, seconds or other units of measurement – in which circumstances they should always be straight. Use double quotes, except for quotes within quotes, in headlines or crossheads, where you should use single quote marks.




R&D (research and development) is all caps, has no spaces and doesn’t need to be spelled out




reduced-risk – not reduce-risk





relevant/important – often used by our non-English writers where significant or major might be more natural in English

Relx is the brand of e-cigarettes from the company RLX Technology








Reynolds: Correctly naming the Reynolds businesses can be confusing. The main company is Reynolds American. This owns a number of subsidiaries, including RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company (which sells major combustible brands) and RJ Reynolds Vapor Company (which sells the Vuse e-cigarette).
For our purposes, we will normally be talking about RJ Reynolds Vapor Company, but if in doubt about exactly which arm of the empire is involved in a story, Reynolds American is a fine catch-all.
After first reference or in headlines, either can be referred to as Reynolds. But do not use RJ Reynolds on its own.
All the Reynolds companies have, since 2017, been owned by British American Tobacco (BAT), which was previously a large shareholder.


ringgit (Malaysian currency) – plural is also ringgit

RLX Technology is the name of the company that makes the Relx brand of e-cigarettes

roadmap is one word, but avoid it

rollout as a noun is one word, as a verb it’s two – roll out. Don’t use it too much; there’s nothing wrong with launch, for example

rouble – Russian currency (but use RUB when stating a specific sum)

round table has no hyphen when a noun, but is hyphenated when adjectival: a round-table discussion

round-up – noun; round up – verb

rubber-stamp (verb)

rulemaking – one word (we only do this for consistency with the way the FDA spells out ANPRM)

Russia, not Russian Federation. The language is Russian, the alphabet is Cyrillic. For its predecessor, use Soviet Union or USSR, preceded by “the former”.




7-Eleven is the name of the convenience-store chain

sales force


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 is meant

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

Sao Paulo

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

SEC – Securities and Exchange Commission (US stock-market regulator) – spell out on first use

secondhand as an adjective, but second hand when describing hearsay. I heard about the secondhand bookshop at second hand.

secondhand smoke

series A, series B (funding)

setup – noun; set up – verb

shake and vape – not Shake n Vape or any other variant; if an abbreviation is required, it is SnV – but use sparingly, and always introduce in brackets after spelling out shake and vape in full first time

shake-up – noun; shake up – verb

shall – unless in direct quotation – is usually better rendered as must, should, sometimes will, or even just is (“the fee is” not “the fee shall be”)


shortfill – one word, no hyphen; a 60 ml bottle containing a 50 ml flavour base (see also longfill above)



SI units have spaces before, even when adjectival. The widget weighed 2 kg. There is a 1 mm gap


simplistic – use simple unless you really mean something is excessively simple

slowdown – noun; slow down – verb

smart shop – two words (but prefer head shop to avoid ambiguity)

Smok – lower-case (not SMOK)



smoke shop – prefer tobacconist

snus – lower-case

SnV – see shake and vape above


speciality not specialty

specialized / specialised – in nearly every case specialist is better (a specialist vape store, not a specialized one)

species of living things – the Latin names are italicised and the first word is capitalised, but not the second. Thus Tyrannosaurus rex, Homo sapiens. They can be abbreviated after first mention in the form T. rex, H. sapiens, etc

stakeholders – but try to avoid it (suggested alternatives, depending on exact context: industry members, industry insiders, interested parties, the industry, relevant people)


startup – noun; start up – verb

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.

statement – the phrase “in a statement” is probably always redundant; how else does anyone state anything?

statistics – do not employ statistical terms such as mean, correlation, and distribution unless you are confident of their meaning – unless, of course, it is obvious from the context that you are using a term such as average in a non-technical sense.

stepping stone

stock exchanges – name the city, not just the country; so the Frankfurt stock exchange, not the German stock exchange







superscript – don’t use it!

symbol stores – explain in brackets: (a grouping of independent stores with shared branding)




tables, with or without shading, should have a border value of 1 and cellpadding of 3 in the HTML

tables of contents are not bolded


take-up (noun)


task force


temperatures40 degrees C, -10 degrees F

Ten Motives

tense – don’t get tense about tense; reading easily and sounding right is more important than absolute consistency. But as a general rule: use the present for things that continue to be true (the association believes the regulations are unfair, there are 6m vapers) and the past for things that happened once and are no longer happening (she said it was unacceptable, the company filed a lawsuit).

Tesco (not TESCO, and certainly not Tesco’s) is a UK supermarket chain

test bed

test-market as a verb, test market without the hyphen as a noun to describe an area or region

theatre – use cinema or movie theatre to describe a place where films are shown

think tank

Tim Phillips is managing director (MD) of ECigIntelligence


times of day3am, 5:30pm etc (note the colon, and the absence of a space before pm)


titles – titles of books, magazines, newspapers, films, TV shows, websites etc are capitalised, but are 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 or bills are capitalised – e.g. the Tobacco Act, the Protection of Young Persons Bill. To avoid very long titles, especially in prose as opposed to lists, consider paraphrasing with a descriptive phrase rather than the actual title – e.g. the policy on CBD. Bear in mind that some items of legislation have shortform names as well as their full ones, and we can use these  e.g. Tobacco Control Act rather than Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Long, descriptive titles can often also be phrased as descriptions – so, for example, Microplastics Pollution – Measures to Reduce its Impact on the Environment can become a regulation on microplastics pollution and measures to reduce its impact on the environment”. (Note no capitalisation.)

TMA  – the US trade body is the Tobacco Merchants Association (not Manufacturers – that’s the British one)

tobacco-alternative products – not tobacco-alternatives products (can also just be called tobacco alternatives, or alternatives to tobacco)

Tobacco Control Act (US). The full name is the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009; use this on the first mention, at least in detailed legal pieces. The short name is the Tobacco Control Act: not the Tobacco Act or TCA.

totalled, fuelled etc – double ll

traditional – avoid when describing things such as technologies and business models which are not really traditional at all in the normal sense of the word, but merely have a few years’ history; consider existing, accustomed, usual, conventional and so on instead. The same caveat applies to historically.

traditional retail – used to distinguish from vape stores; but prefer mainstream


translations – We can sometimes be more idiomatic in translations, though less so in legal text than in the names of institutions and in quotes. For example, “Respecter les précautions d’emploi” could be something like “Observe the usage warnings” rather than the literal “Respect the precautions of use”.



trillion – abbreviated tn – 3tn

turnaround – noun; turn round – verb

tweeted – no need for said in a tweet or wrote on their Twitter account etc




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.

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. There are also some island territories (Isle of Man, Channel Islands) with idiosyncratic legal status, but we’re unlikely to need to cover them. The Republic of Ireland is an entirely independent nation.

Ukraine not the Ukraine



under the terms of the agreement is usually a redundant phrase

under-age. Remember that the ages at which particular things are legally permitted vary around the world. There is no global definition of “a minor” that you can automatically apply to all discussions.




unveiled use revealed

upmarket, downmarket

upside, downside




vape store

vaporise not vapourise, but vapour not vapor, per our general preference for British English spellings

vaporiser – see vaporise above

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

verbs used with products avoid this. Products don’t generally do things: when we say “vapour products cannot engage in online advertising”, we actually mean that their manufacturers can’t

versus – OK to use in regular text (see vs, below)

VG (vegetable glycerin) – spell out. See also PG

vice-president (but VP is OK, though of course it should not be used to refer to the vice-president of a country)


voltslower-case when spelled out, but the abbreviation is cap V. 5V

vs – (in names of court cases and in heads) Smith vs Jones; (in regular text) OK to use versus or vs




Walgreens (no apostrophe)

Wall Street can be used generically to refer to the New York financial industry, but for international clarity, don’t abbreviate it to the Street.


-ward(s) words – afterwards, towards; backward, forward, upward

water pipe, when referring to the smoking alternative (and also when referring to the plumbing infrastructure, come to think of it)

web – lower-case, no need to say worldwide

web domains as company or business names – generally you can use the brand without the .com (or other top-level domain) – Google, not

website – one unhyphenated word, lower-case

WEEE is the EU Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment and should be spelled out on first use


western world

while not whilst

white paper


WHO – World Health Organization – in capitals (and note the z when spelled out in full)

-wide words – generally don’t hyphenate well-known constructions – thus worldwide, nationwide, statewide – but do hyphenate the less well-known ones: store-wide, Europe-wide, city-wide

Wild West



World War I, World War II





year ranges: give in full: 2004-2011

years of age – nearly always redundant (what else does “under 18” mean?)


Style guide introduction / general principles >

Notes for analysts >

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