Emma Chamberlain Has Started A Much-Needed Convo About Vaping Addiction
Emma admitted that she's been addicted to vaping since she was 17.
In the most recent episode of her podcast, Emma Chamberlain has revealed that she’s struggled with a nicotine addiction for the past five years.
— Content warning: This article includes discussions of addiction and mental illness. —
“This is a topic that I’ve avoided forever because I never wanted to have to admit to my own addiction publicly,” Emma begins. “But here I am today, admitting to you that I have a very severe nicotine addiction.”
“I have had a constant stream of nicotine in my system for the past five years,” she added. “Not a day has gone by in the last five years where I haven’t consumed nicotine in some form.”
It was a big announcement for the 22-year-old, who despite being a huge YouTuber, influencer, and now fashion it-girl, can be pretty guarded about her personal life.
Why Emma’s Confession Matters
It’s sad to hear about Emma’s addiction struggles, but I’m so glad she’s speaking up about it.
Emma mentioned that she hadn’t talked about it before because while she “loved” vaping, it wasn’t something she would “ever want to promoted”. As she’s now trying to quit, she’s more open to talking about it on the main.
“I was never proud of my nicotine addiction, in fact I was always kind of ashamed… but at the same time I was not ready to quit because it played a huge role in my life in a weird way,” Emma added.
Why It Didn’t Come As A Surprise
While I was sad to Emma talk about her addiction, I wouldn’t say that I was shocked. While I, a fellow 22-year-old, don’t vape, I have many friends who do; and I can see the way that vaping has quietly impacted their lives.
There’s no shortage of evidence to prove that vaping is an issue among young people. Like Emma said, it sometimes feels like everyone vapes. If you look around your friendship group or workplace, chances are that at least half of them have a taste for it.
In NSW alone, 16.5 percent of people aged 16-24 use a vape daily or occasionally from 2021-2022, according to a NSW Population Health Survey.
Emma also talked about how her depression only made things worse. “My guilty conscience [around nicotine and alcohol] had sort of died down a bit. I think part of that has to do with struggling with depression, weirdly enough. I feel like that kind of killed my guilty conscience.”
“I just sort of became more careless about what I did to myself after struggling with depression,” Emma added.
While I don’t think people who vape are being wilfully careless about their health, I do think a lot of young people are trapped in a cycle of picking it up, learning of the consequences, and then struggling to quit.
Didn’t Australia Ban Vaping?
Kind of. The government cracked down on the sale of vapes across Australia earlier this year, essentially restricting the sale of electronic cigarettes without a prescription. Vapes will now also be sold in similar plain packaging used to warn tobacco smokers of the risks of cigarettes.
The Australian government also confirmed a $63 million public health campaign aimed at discouraging young people from vaping and smoking.
Although there isn’t enough data yet to see the long term effects of vaping on the body, the Department of Health says that it might increase the risk of lung disease. NSW Health also says that, depending on the size of the vape and nicotine strength, the nicotine in one vape can equals to around 50 cigarettes.
Sadly, a lot of young people probably didn’t know what they were getting into when they picked up their first vape. Which is why Emma’s admission feels like a big deal. “I started to panic constantly about what it was doing to my body, and that anxiety became so overwhelming for me one day that I just decided that I have to quit,” she said.
I can’t imagine how many people who love her are stuck in the same rut, and I can only hope that more influencers open up about their struggles with addiction. By speaking out, they’re helping humanise what for so many young people is probably a shameful experience.
I also hope that our government sets up sufficient health programs to help young people who are addicted to vaping but cannot legally buy them anymore. In the meantime, NSW Health do have some information about getting support and quitting vaping.
Ky is a proud Kamilaroi and Dharug person and writer at Junkee. Follow them on Twitter.