I'm a municipal court judge in two jurisdictions and a city prosecutor in another. In the 22 years this has been a part of my law practice, I've seen the too-young-to-have-that offenses that come into the municipal courts run the gamut, from alcohol possession to tobacco possession to possession of vaping materials and drug paraphernalia (not age-dependent). Although the contraband varies, the main excuse doesn't: "I was holding it for a friend". No matter how many times I hear or read those words, I think, "Really? That's what you're going with?" I sometimes follow up with, "Why?". It boggles my mind to see how often the answer is, "He didn't wanna get in trouble..." When I ask who the other person was, the defendant (because that's what he/she is by the time it gets to me) says some variation of, "I'm not gonna snitch on my friend". When I ask where the friend is here today in court, there's never a good answer.
The City of San Antonio instituted a new ordinance that makes it an offense to possess tobacco products (which includes vaping devices) if you're under the age of 21. The Texas Legislature is on track to make that a state-wide law. I have to say, I don't know how I feel about either one. Obviously, I'll enforce it in all my courts if it passes, but isn't there a better way to keep kids from starting than making it illegal for another three years? If that were so, I'd see a lot fewer possession/consumption of alcoholic beverage charges in the municipal courts. And believe me, the kids are still drinkin'. At school. In the parking lot.
So is it their parents' fault? A personal story here: I always thought teaching your kids that drugs and cigarettes and alcohol were bad for you was the way to keep them off the stuff. However, after Daughter #1 grew up and became a married woman, she told me that part of her "departure from the path" during college was that she had always heard me say, "People who use that stuff are bad people", and when she met some, they were really cool and nice people. Here's the thing: we never said the people were bad, just that the substances were bad for you. What parents say and what kids hear are often two different things. It's been that way since Eve said, "He's not the boss of me"...
I don't have an answer for the question, except to quote J.D. Walt: We aren't sinners because we sin, we sin because we're sinners. In the meantime, check out these resources:
Musings, observations, the occasional whineage and some funny stuff.