Good to hear from someone at this forum. If anyone has questions about growing tobacco, obtaining seeds or drying/curing I'll be glad to help you out!
Tobacco is grown much like tomatoes and it's time to start your plants from seed soon. We're planting this week up here in N. Central Texas, Dale, so you should consider starting your plants soon.
Tobacco is in the nightshade family and is grown much like tomatoes. Everything you do organically to help tomatoes will help tobacco. The main difference is that you are going for the leaves and not the fruit. Start the seeds indoors 5-6 weeks before your last average frost, then grow them inside to 4-6 inches tall and transplant out when frost isn't expected any more.
Tobacco will use a considerable amount of nitrogen early in the season, but you want to starve the plants about the last 2 months of their 5 to 5-1/2 month growing cycle so that the leaf changes color and loses all the green after drying.
Common pests are the tobacco/tomato hornworm and other caterpillers which can be controlled with bT organically, or even picked off (I look for the moth eggs under the leaves and wipe them off). Aphids can be a problem and Safer Insecticidal Soap can help control them.
I don't know what your friend did to kill his plants, but overwatering is possible. Tobacco likes water but likes well-drained soils and should not be drowned. It's really a "weed"! Too much care is far worse than a little neglect.
I hope that helps, I have a lot more info in my head and written out that I can send you if you like. Just e-mail me!