Objectives: This study examined differences in cessation success based on smokers' self-initiated pre-quit reductions in cigarettes per day (cpd). Methods: The study utilized data from a nicotine replacement. +. behavioral therapy smoking cessation intervention conducted in a female prison facility with 179 participants who were wait-listed for 6 months prior to intervention. We compared two groups of smokers based on whether they self-selected to reduce smoking prior to their cessation attempt (n= 77) or whether they increased smoking or did not reduce (n= 102). General Estimating Equations (GEE) were used to model smoking cessation through 12-month follow-up. Results: Examination of pre-cessation cpd showed that those who reduced were heavier smokers at baseline, relative to those who did not reduce (p< 0.001). By the week prior to the quit attempt (week 3) heavier smokers at baseline smoked significantly fewer cigarettes (p< 0.001) and had lower CO levels (p< 0.05) compared to baseline lighter smokers. GEE analyses showed that individuals who reduced prior to their quit attempt had significantly higher quit rates during early treatment but these gains were not sustained by follow-up points. Conclusions: Participant-initiated pre-cessation smoking reduction may be initially helpful in preparing to quit smoking, or may serve as a marker for participant motivation to quit smoking, but these differences do not sustain over time. More intensive interventions are still needed for successful cessation. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.