From the Desk of the General Counsel

From the Desk of the General Counsel


It is my great pleasure and wonderful privilege to bring you the very first edition of the General Counsel/Chief Compliance Officer’s blog.

Let’s set the stage, shall we: to be an effective communicator, one must first understand and then seek to be understood.

As with all new acquaintances, a brief introduction is in order to set the tone for our time together.

My History with the E-cig

Nicopure Labs, makers of Halo and eVo, located in AWESOME Tampa, Florida, is my new, happy home as of August of this year. My experience spans 12 years of domestic and international E-cigarette and tobacco regulation, having held both in-house and law firm positions in several countries and having earned a few FDA-related notches on the belt.

My first EVER encounter with E-cigarettes was in a hotel room in Vienna in 2007, while watching a late night German language channel. They looked an awful lot like cigarettes and, shockingly, cigarette advertising was supposed to be banned on TV in Europe—I knew that well, since I was a lawyer specializing in that industry.  What was the deal?, I wondered.

So I started to explore the E-cig world, mostly on my own, since the product was not yet readily available in stores. The E-cigs I finally managed to get my hands on were pretty cheap-looking and tasted bad. Well, if you believed that the tobacco industry started to worry right away, you would be wrong. Nobody thought much of this product in its infancy, other than to enforce swiftly against trademark infringements if the E-cigs claimed they tasted like specific cigarette brands.

A couple of years later, as the product was making its way into the US,  there was almost full-blown hysteria against it among the World Health Organization, FDA and other countries’ health authorities. In 2009, the FDA tried to block importation of E-cigs as unauthorized drugs while at the same time it started its regulatory oversight of the conventional tobacco industry. In 2010, a federal court eventually told the FDA, look, you, FDA, cannot regulate these products as medicinal, but if you want, you can regulate them as tobacco products, provided that the nicotine or some other ingredient in E-cigs is derived from tobacco.

Other countries were quick to either quote the FDA or the WHO’s speculative and rather unfounded concerns with E-cigs and outright ban them. Such is society’s fear of change that it seemed easier to act defensively and ban the product than to pause, think and understand the opportunities it presents.

I don’t know about you, but I expect just a tad more out of governments and their health watchdogs.

As the E-cig debate was heating up—and vaping was more visible—a couple of years later a few of us lawyers took to fighting some of the FDA’s unreasonable Tobacco Control Act requirements (measures that will eventually apply to vaping products), or to be politically correct, “worked with the FDA.” It’s a mostly tedious yet sometimes spectacularly creative job, but somebody’s got to do it.

My View on Vaping

Though never a smoker myself, I grew up surrounded by heavy smokers; a few eventually quit after several painful attempts. Personally, I will never question—and always fight for—the right of adults to engage in lawful, even if unhealthy or unpopular, behavior and choices. I do not believe it is the government’s right to tell us what to eat, what to drink, what to wear, what treatments to take, and how to enjoy ourselves. I may choose to live on water, nuts and raspberries, but I will never allow others to be judged or penalized for their different lifestyle choices.

The line between an intrusive state and Orwell’s 1984 revisionism is all too fine. I do not believe the state should protect me from myself, in particular in the privacy of my home. I do believe, however, fervently, that an enlightened state must pursue avenues to enhance the well-being of its citizens, and the state also has an obligation to inform and communicate what constructive options we have to improve our quality of life.

Well, enough of this serious talk! The simple truth is vaping is here to stay, whether or not this government or that government likes it. And it is a good thing. It forces us as a society to step up and explore alternative tobacco harm reduction avenues. And it forces manufacturers to compete under enhanced societal and regulatory scrutiny for a better, safer, more consumer-focused product that, for a change, can also do some good.

Welcome to the vaping revolution!

Amid the revolution, after a few years advising on E-cigarette regulatory issues, I came to Nicopure Labs persuaded by two sets of circumstances: first, its unapologetic, transparent, unconditional commitment to ingredient purity, product quality, responsible, domestic manufacturing and spectacular, steady growth; and second (I know you guys will read this but I want to say it anyway!), the open, friendly, unassuming and serene perseverance of Nicopure Labs’ founders, in spite of so many regulatory unknowns, their calm and well-substantiated belief that we shall overcome anything that comes upon us, and their humbling trust in my abilities to lead the way successfully among regulatory traps and burdens.

And, again, I don’t know about you, but when someone shows me such unconditional trust, I now pretty much feel the responsibility to be Superwoman and save the world—or regulators from themselves—or at least change things for the better. No self-imposed pressure there!

One of the great opportunities we have is not only to listen to and to talk with consumers but also listen to listen to and talk with other stakeholders. So what can you expect in future blogs from the General Counsel/Chief Compliance Officer’s desk? First, regulatory updates, news about vaping science and brief analyses on important matters for our industry. Second, but more important to me—questions to you and from you that I will try to incorporate in my messages as appropriate. Remember, however, these are just personal opinions, not legal advice.

And last but not least, I hope to bring into our conversation a few world renowned harm reduction advocates, who also happen to be very much pro-vaping and surprise you from time to time with guest interviews.

I’m very excited to interact with you all! I look forward to an effervescent exchange of ideas.


“Be not astonished at new ideas; for it is well known to you that a thing does not therefore cease to be true because it is not accepted by many.”  ― Baruch Spinoza

Previous Testimonial: I Saved Over $6,000 by Switching to E-Cigarettes
Next The Top 10 Vaping Memes

About author

Patricia Kovacevic 10 posts

Patricia I. Kovacevic, Esq. is the general counsel and chief compliance officer of Nicopure Labs LLC, the leading E-liquid and vaping device manufacturer of American-made Halo and eVo E-liquids and Reactor, Tracer, Triton and G6 devices. With extensive U.S. and international industry experience, Ms. Kovacevic held senior legal and compliance positions at, among others, Philip Morris International and Lorillard. Her expertise includes global E-cigarette and tobacco regulation and compliance. Ms. Kovacevic serves on the advisory board of the Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum. In the past, she served on the UN’s Public-Private Partnership Commission. Ms. Kovacevic is admitted to practice in New York. She holds a Juris Doctor degree from Columbia Law School (NY) and has completed the Harvard Business School “Corporate Leader” course. She is fluent in seven European languages.

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  • Steve de Lyra

    Hi Patricia,
    Your first edition is great! I look forward to more. You are working for a company which understands the need for good product stewardship practices. Unfortunately Nicopure Labs/Halo Cigs represents a small minority of players in this segment. I wish you well in your new job and in your new home.
    All the best,

  • Clay Griffin

    Hello Patricia,

    A very enjoyable first edition as expected. I look forward to hearing more from you in the future. I should be in Tampa early next year so I will give you a call and maybe say hello. Best of luck with everything.

    Clay Griffin

  • Andrew Todd

    no one owes me anything but me. i owe myself the choice to be healthy. so begins week three of not smoking. after many attempts to quit, vaping gives me the confidence to pursue a life without smoking, confidence is high-

  • Todd

    Hey Patricia
    Good stuff and I am glad that Halo has provided an insight into the legal / regulatory aspect of vaping! I look forward to reading more of your columns!

    That said… What do you anticipate from the FDA as far as confirmation and testing of vaping products in the future? Or are there already tests underway? Do you foresee any regulations towards PG or VG based liquids?

    As a frequent international traveler, and I will state up front that “stealth vaping” is something I don’t like as it gives a negative opinion and negative biased to vapers, what is with the global airline vaping ban? Any insights on how this occurred and is there a legal battle to over turn it? Or is it too much to soon for public opinion?

    And what are the issues you foresee as a legal issue to prevent taxation to vaping?

    • Thank you for your questions. I will address these topics more in detail in a future blog, so stay tuned!

  • Robert

    I think the FDA don’t understand that the ones that vape has now another choice other than stinkees to enjoy so that we can enjoy life again but its our choice not theirs.

  • Craig Goble

    Hi. I live in New Zealand. And I am valine now instead of smoking cigs. It has been just over 3 months altho I have had tobacco on that time I have found that I would rather vape as it dosnt have side effects that tobacco smoking has. I smell better and told I taste better. Halo was my first port of call but because of the dollar at moment it to expensive to import at the moment. While it is illegal to sell here although a few shops do it is taking off fast. The quality that I can buy retail is not as good as halo I have found except for some that we still get from or government is slowly banning or bringing into line with cig laws and until it is more widespread here it will still be looked upon as smoking. Most bars etc do not allow them now ( last cpl months ) as our cig laws don’t allow smoking in them. I will follow your blog for interest and news. Thank you alot. Valine is saving me not just money but health as well.
    Craig Goble

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  • Sean

    It is great to see a company that respects the intelligence of its consumers. This is a blog that I will look forward to seeing in the future.

  • CJ

    I love halo e liquid. I actually quit tobacco in May 2014 by using this great product, I started high nicotine and am now down to low or zero. I love vaping and will never go back to regular cigarettes, I feel better and smell better, just want people to know this if they are just quitting tobacco, because it can be done😀

  • Janie Cassens

    Thank you. Great introduction. Looking forward to more e-cig news.