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Tips for Teens: Things You Need To Know About Sex, Tobacco and Alcohol

Last updated: July 25, 2022

Your Health

It’s never too early to start being responsible for your health. How you take care of your body now will affect you for the rest of your life.

Did you know that in Anne Arundel County…?

  • Teens ages 19 and under gave birth to 233 babies in 2015. Pregnant teens and their unborn babies have unique medical risks, including high blood pressure, low birth weight babies and premature birth.
  • Teens and young adults have the highest rates of sexually transmitted infections* (STIs). In 2015, 26 percent of chlamydia cases and 18 percent of gonorrhea cases were in teens ages 19 and under. Both chlamydia and gonorrhea are STIs that can cause sterility (inability to have babies) if not treated.

*The term sexually transmitted infections (STIs) refers to any infection that can be spread through sexual contact. These infections are also often referred to as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). STI and STD have the same meaning.

What are some “risky” behaviors that can affect my health?

  • Vaginal, oral and anal sex can cause you to get an STI, and vaginal sex can lead to an unwanted pregnancy.
  • Alcohol and drugs can affect your ability to use good judgment and make decisions, including those related to sexual activity. Alcohol and drug use can result in an unwanted pregnancy, date rape, sexual violence or physical injuries.
  • Smoking or inhaling secondhand smoke can increase the likelihood of respiratory illnesses. Smoking causes shortness of breath, which can reduce your performance in active sports. It can also cause emphysema, bronchitis and certain types of cancer, including lung, stomach, mouth and throat cancer.

What is the only way to prevent pregnancy and STIs?

Not having vaginal, oral or anal sex is the only way to prevent pregnancy and to prevent getting an STI.

Who are the best people to answer my questions about sex, STIs, tobacco, alcohol and drugs?

Talk to your parents or a responsible adult. Ask them questions about sex, teen pregnancy, STIs, tobacco, alcohol and drugs. They will give you the correct information or help you find it. If you do not feel comfortable talking to your parents, call your health care provider.

What teen health services are available at the Department of Health?

Maryland’s Minor Consent Law allows teens under 18 to seek confidential contraceptive and STI-related care without their parents’ permission.

Pregnancy testing and a list of family planning services (free and confidential) are available at:

Glen Burnie Health Center
416 A Street, S.W.
Glen Burnie, Maryland 21061

Parole Health Center
1950 Drew Street
Annapolis, Maryland 21401

Family Planning and Sexual Health Services

Other Department of Health Resources:

Alcohol and Drug Prevention Services, 410-222-6724
Provides information about alcohol and drug prevention. Referrals for treatment are available.

HIV and Sexually Transmitted Diseases Program, 410-222-7382
Provides free and anonymous HIV and STI counseling and testing located throughout the County.

Immunizations Program, 410-222-4896
Provides recommended immunizations. Parental consent is required.

Web Resources:

Teen Pregnancy Prevention

Pregnancy Prevention: Top 10 Myth Busters
Teen Pregnancy: The Importance of Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Birth Control

Unintended Pregnancy Prevention: Contraception (CDC)
Anne Arundel County Teen Birth Rates

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

STD Topics (CDC)
Sexually Transmitted Infections: 10 Myth Busters
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STIs) in Anne Arundel County

Smoking, Alcohol and Drug Use Prevention

Nicotine Free Week
Talk they hear you – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Binge Drinking Awareness: Know the Facts
Prevention of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness (SAMHSA)

Health Care for Families and Youth

Anne Arundel County Network of Care
Maryland Health Connection

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