Corporeal Anxiety Representations of Disability in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Tips from Former Smokers Messages

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Jacob William Justice


Extensive evidence demonstrates that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s multimedia anti-smoking campaign, Tips from Former Smokers, is an effective public health measure. In this essay, I explain the rhetorical appeals utilized in the campaign that contribute to its resonance, arguing that the campaign invokes corporeal anxiety, an emotion that emerges from societal aversion to disability. These appeals to corporeal anxiety operate as enthymemes by relying upon an unstated premise: that disability is negative and ought to be avoided to preserve one’s normalcy. This analysis treats the campaign messages as a form of bodily rhetoric and visual argument, arguing that the campaign deters smoking through graphic bodily imagery and narratives of lost normalcy that conceptualize disability as tragedy or deficit. I conclude that the success of the campaign comes at the expense of perpetuating stigma against people with disabilities.  


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Research Articles
Author Biography

Jacob William Justice, The University of Kansas

Jacob William Justice holds a PhD in Communication Studies from the University of Kansas.



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