Research consistently has shown that cigarette use by adolescents is related to their parents' use and to particular characteristics of the family environment, but few studies have examined the linkages between parents' smoking behavior and other family characteristics to explain adolescents' smoking. In this study, we tested mediator, moderator, and independent models for their ability to characterize the relationship between parents' and their children's smoking. A sample of 719 matched pairs of parent (usually mother) and child was used. Respondents were part of an ongoing randomized evaluation of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) Project in Illinois, and the subset of data used in these analyses was collected in 1991, when the youths were in the sixth or seventh grades. Results of logistic regression provided the greatest support for the independent model, which suggests that the effects of parents' smoking and familial characteristics on adolescents' smoking are not linked. Results also supported those found by other researchers by showing that parents' former smoking is associated with adolescents' current smoking. Significant family characteristics were family disunion and parents' awareness of their child's activities. These results suggest, in part, that children at any age may have the capability of storing memories of their parents' smoking, memories that influence their own smoking; also, characteristics of the family environment, independent of parents' smoking behavior, have an effect on adolescents' smoking. Prevention implications and recommendations are also discussed.