If you have not yet quit but are just starting out and you are tracking your smoking and learning about when and why you smoke
Make it a game.
Never push it past the point of uncomfortable.
You just need to begin learning you don't need to smoke every time you want to smoke.
This builds confidence, not FEAR.
If you intend to wean down your smoking before you quit (and I highly suggest it in the way I've described above) you will eventually force yourself into withdrawal. When you start getting down to 5 or less and you feel a little frantic, be prepared to actually stop smoking and begin your quit.
This applies whether you are using an NRT as an aid or not. I did this for the 4 weeks before I quit and there was never a fear, any stress or any negative buildup before I quit. I went from 20 a day to 5 a day and wouldn't have even known except I wasn't going to buy cigarettes every two days and there was money in my wallet. LOL
The physical withdrawal and nicotine leaving your body takes about 3 days. Why prolong it?