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People-first language policy

Tobacco Control has a policy of using people-first language which avoids putting product use first. In simple terms, this means avoiding use of labels such as ‘smoker’, ‘tobacco user’ and ‘vaper’. The table below provides guidance for appropriate terminology and terms that should be avoided. We encourage researchers to use these terms throughout the research process for consistency, accuracy and as a matter of good practice. This list is not exhaustive, and there are many definitions within the broad terms listed below. Authors should adapt people-first principles as needed for terms that are not listed here.
Terms to avoid Smoker(s) Daily smoker(s) Non-daily smoker(s) Current smoker(s) Former smoker(s) Never smoker(s) Vaper(s) Heated tobacco user(s) Smokeless tobacco user(s) Dual user(s) Poly user(s)
Examples of person/people-first alternatives Person who smokes; People who smoke; Participants who smoke; Adult(s) who smoke; Adolescents who smoke Person who smokes daily; People who smoke daily; Participants who smoke daily; Adult(s) who smoke daily; Adolescents who smoke daily Participants who report current non-daily smoking; People who smoke less than daily; Adults who do not smoke every day; Person/people who have smoked in last 30 days; Participants who reported smoking in last 30 days; Person who currently smokes Person/people who previously smoked; Participants who report no smoking for the past year Person who has never smoked; People who have never; smoked; Participants who report smoking fewer than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime Person who uses e-cigarettes; People who use e-cigarettes; Participants who use e-cigarettes; Adult(s) who use e-cigarettes; Adolescent(s) who use e-cigarettes Person who uses heated tobacco products; People who use heated tobacco products; Participant(s) who use(s) heated tobacco products; Adult(s) who use heated tobacco products; Adolescents who use e-cigarettes Person who uses smokeless tobacco; Participant who reports current smokeless tobacco use; Waterpipe smoker(s); Person who smokes waterpipe tobacco; Participant reports current waterpipe use People who smoke and use e-cigarettes; People who use e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco; Participants who report current use of two products People who report using more than 2 tobacco products; Person who smokes and uses 2 or more other products