Teen Health

Find out about the Italian attitude to teenagers’ health and pregnancy...

Vaccinations

At 14 to 15 years of age, teens need to receive the diphtheria and tetanus booster vaccine (vaccino difto-tetanico-pertossico acellulare per adulti).

Alcohol, smoking and drug use

The legal drinking age in Italy is 16, though many young people drink wine with family meals at an earlier age. Wine is generally considered an essential part of a meal in Italy and a relaxed attitude is generally taken regarding teen drinking.

Though Italian teens drink as frequently as their European counterparts, they binge-drink much less than teens in other EU countries.

The Ministry of Health has guidance for young people regarding the dangers of alcohol consumption.

As many Italian teens smoke cigarettes as in other European countries, though the use of marijuana and hashish is higher than average in Italy.

Drug use by teens in Italy is generally at the same rate as in other European countries, though research suggests there may be a growing cocaine problem in the larger cities in Italy. 

Pregnancy

Italy has reduced teenage birth rates in recent years. The poorer, southern areas of Italy have the highest rates of teen pregnancy and birth in the country. It is worth noting that most teenage births in Italy are to married teenagers.

Abortion is legal in Italy. In the case of unwanted pregnancy, females under 18 years of age must have the consent of a parent or guardian, or the decision may be deferred to a judge. The father of the fetus does not need to give his authorisation for the termination. Qualified physicians may choose to refuse to perform an abortion based on the grounds of the Conscience Clause.