Rocco Rorandelli


Bitter Leaves

Rocco's new book on the global tobacco industry

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The 10 year long project on the global tobacco industry is now a book published by Gost Books. 

You can order your copy here.

Bitter Leaves


Over the course of almost ten years, Rocco Rorandelli has travelled extensively to India, China, Indonesia, USA, Germany, Bulgaria, Nigeria, Slovenia and Italy in order to document the impact that the tobacco industry has on human health, the economy as well as the environment. His project, supported in part by the Fund for Investigative Journalism, looks through the “smokescreen” of the industry.

Cigarettes are considered the most marketed consumer product in history. Their success derives from their apparent simplicity: tobacco leaves, paper and filter. Their design, however, hides not only the chemical toxicity of smoke, but also the many socio-economic and environmental negative aspects linked to their production, marketing and utilization.

The book is a way to understand how tobacco promotes the stripping of farmlands, threatens workers with dangerous chemicals, exploits child labor and undocumented workers, utilizes aggressive marketing campaigns aimed at identifying new customers (mostly underage), and conducts heavy lobbying to promote its expansion to novel markets and social strata. Moreover, tobacco severely affects the environment: every year, 9 million acres are subjected to deforestation for tobacco cultivations - accounting for 12% of the world’s cut trees and for nearly 5% of greenhouse gas emissions – while cigarette butts are today considered the world’s greatest source of ocean pollution: of the 5.6 trillion cigarettes produced annually, about two-thirds end up disposed in the environment, and make their way to the world's oceans.

The work has received a wide media coverage, being published by The Guardian, Newsweek, Le Monde Magazine, CNN, Courrier International, GEO, Internazionale, L’Espresso, Io Donna, an many more.

“He aims to redefine the imagery of the cigarette, pushing it away from dusty cowboys and the vast plantations of Virginia to the realities of modern industrial globalization"
The New York Times

"With a long history of denying the health risks of smoking and second-hand smoke, obscuring the truth about tobacco and deceiving smokers, the tobacco industry has evolved into an inordinately lucrative business”
Judith Mackay

What they say about the book
The Guardian
Huck magazine
PDN Online

Bitter Leaves
Photography by Rocco Rorandelli
Afterword by Judith Mackay

Published in September 2019
165×240 mm
144 pages – Four color printing
62 color images, 5 infographics
Hardback, cloth covered, tipped in image
First edition: 700 copies
ISBN 978-1-910401-36-1
GOST publishing

Cover price: 35,00 Euro (VAT included)