The associations between maternal smoking and nicotine dependence and patterns of smoking and nicotine dependence in offspring were examined in a large community-based sample of adolescents. Data were derived from baseline and 4-year follow-up assessments of 938 respondents aged 14–17 years at the outset of the Early Developmental Stages of Psychopathology (EDSP) study, a prospective-longitudinal community study of adolescents and young adults and their parents respectively. Smoking and nicotine dependence in respondents were assessed using the Munich Composite International Diagnostic Interview (DSM-IV algorithms). Diagnostic information about smoking behavior in mothers was collected by independent direct diagnostic interviews with the mothers. In comparison to children of non- or occasionally smoking mothers, children of regularly smoking and nicotine-dependent mothers had higher probabilities of using tobacco as well as of developing nicotine dependence. For all ages under consideration, survival analyses revealed a higher cumulative lifetime risk of regular smoking and nicotine dependence among these children. Maternal smoking during pregnancy seems to represent an additional risk for these outcomes in children, specifically with regard to the risk of developing nicotine dependence. Associations were comparable for sons and daughters. Our findings show that maternal smoking predicts escalation of smoking, development of nicotine dependence, and stability of smoking behavior in children. Implications for specific intervention and prevention efforts are discussed.