OBJECTIVES: This study examined a family-directed program's effectiveness in preventing adolescent tobacco and alcohol use in a general population. METHODS: Adolescents aged 12 to 14 years and their families were identified by random-digit dialing throughout the contiguous United States. After providing baseline data by telephone interviews, they were randomly allocated to receive or not receive a family-directed program featuring mailed booklets and telephone contacts by health educators. Follow-up telephone interviews were conducted 3 and 12 months after program completion. RESULTS: The findings suggested that smoking onset was reduced by 16.4% at 1 year, with a 25.0% reduction for non-Hispanic Whites but no statistically significant program effect for other races/ethnicities. There were no statistically significant program effects for smokeless tobacco or alcohol use onset. CONCLUSIONS: The family-directed program was associated with reduced smoking onset for non-Hispanic Whites, suggesting that it is worthy of further application, development, and evaluation.