Two methods of nicotine fading as a smoking cessation preparation technique were compared. A brand-switching procedure and a three-stage set of "Nicotine Faders" graduated filters were the preparation strategies. Both methods implemented a putative 30-50-80% nicotine exposure reduction schedule in three weekly phases. There were a total of 110 study participants (57 in brand switching) enrolled in eight clinic groups. Results indicated that at the 80% reduction level, meaningful reductions in nicotine (measured by its metabolite cotinine) and carbon monoxide (CO) exposure were measurable with both nicotine fading procedures. Overall pooled nicotine and CO exposure drops from baselines of 48.2% and 35.5%, respectively, were recorded. The abstinence outcome measures (pooled 1-year abstinence prevalence = 30.9%) were not significantly different between the two preparation strategies. Trends in nicotine and CO exposure drops, and abstinence outcome measures, however, were consistently in favor of the graduated filters. Potential advantages of filters in the context of a preparation-for-quitting strategy were suggested.