It is believed that the nicotine for electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs, comes from China, India and maybe Eastern Europe. “Why can't American growers produce it here?” said Rod Kuegel, a burley and dark tobacco grower from Owensboro, KY.

E-cigs are battery-powered devices that vaporize liquid nicotine solutions to simulate the experience of a conventional cigarette without the smoke. Kuegel said meetings and negotiations are going on this spring to see if this market could be developed, and he is sure that an experimental batch of liquid nicotine will be produced somewhere in the burley belt this year.

“We have the best controls on pesticide residues that exist in tobacco. If electronic cigarettes are supposed to be healthier, how can they use nicotine from tobacco that doesn't measure up to ours?" he said. "This product should be produced in the U.S.”

He is not sure how liquid nicotine would be produced, but whatever the method, it is not likely to be too difficult for Americans to adopt.