The Chicago Journal

The Advantages of Using Nicotine Pouches Over Cigarettes

According to the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), tobacco use remains the leading cause of disease and death in the United States, with more than 480,000 recorded deaths yearly. One of every three cancer deaths in the country is due to smoking. Meanwhile, one in every four deaths from cardiovascular diseases is also a result of cigarette smoking. The agency further explained that smoking increases the risk for stroke and can cause type 2 diabetes, which more than 34 million American adults suffer from.

Today, tobacco cessation treatments are administered to individuals who want to reduce their dependence on smoking and tobacco use by providing nicotine alternatives. They are commercially available in the form of gums, transdermal patches, lozenges, and pouches, which are all effective in increasing the chance of smokers quitting successfully. Healthcare providers claim that products like nicotine pouches are effective since they increase cessation rates by 50% to 70%. Because they are acknowledged by health professionals, nicotine pouches are starting to become popular among smokers who want to stop smoking.

Here are some of the reasons why nicotine pouches are better for you than smoking regular cigarettes:

They Are Non-Combustible

The USFDA revealed that smoking cigarettes are responsible for the majority of all tobacco-related diseases and deaths in the US because it exposes individuals to over 7,000 chemicals, which include tobacco-specific nitrosamines, arsenic, and benzene, among others. Moreover, they found that combustible products that burn tobacco, like cigarettes, are the most harmful to a user’s health. Huge cigarette companies like Philip Morris USA are planning to focus their operations on making non-combustible products in order to make significant progress in reducing the harm associated with smoking by 2030. While they haven’t identified the specific products they’re developing, nicotine pouches may be on their cards. Unlike cigarettes, nicotine pouches are taken orally without burning any of their content.

They Are Tobacco-Free

A study on tobacco harm reduction tools by Patwardhan and Fagerström discussed that even unburned tobacco or cigarettes contain about 16 carcinogens. Therefore, consuming tobacco, even in smokeless forms such as gutkha, zarda, and naswar is not considered safe. This makes nicotine pouches preferable over most traditional tobacco products since they don’t contain any tobacco chemicals. The best nicotine pouches by renowned manufacturers like On!, ZYN, and Velo, are all 100% tobacco-free. Aside from nicotine, they only contain plant fibers, food-grade fillers, and flavoring agents. Nicotine pouches are also useful in reducing nicotine dependence since they are available in varying nicotine strengths or flavors.

They Are Smoke-Free

Patwardhan and Fagerström claimed that there are about 60 carcinogenic chemicals present in tobacco products once they are smoked, and even e-cigarette smoke brings possible health risks. Our previous article on secondhand e-cigarette smoking discussed that e-cigarette use is associated with respiratory conditions and cardiovascular disease since studies showed that e-liquids of vape products contain heavy metals. Since nicotine pouches are non-combustible, they are also completely smoke-free. It ensures that you keep yourself and those around you safe from the secondhand smoke caused by tobacco products or e-cigarettes. This is important since USFDA reported that secondhand smoking causes more than 40,00 deaths a year.

As the awareness about pouches grows, the hope is that more people opt out of cigarettes. A push for nicotine pouches could be a monumental step in helping improve the health and quality of life for cigarette smokers.

James Vitas & VMD Companies Announces 150,000 SQ FT Distribution Center For Pods

James Vitas and the VMD Companies are ecstatic to announce that they will soon be celebrating the grand opening of a brand-new distribution facility that is outfitted with the most cutting-edge technology available.

This incredible edifice will be located in Wildwood, Florida, and will have a footprint that is 150,000 square feet. It is believed that it will open sometime during the summer, and once it does, it will provide customers of Pods with a broad variety of storage options.

The purpose behind the construction of the brand-new facility was to provide businesses with an all-encompassing storage solution, regardless of whether or whether the businesses need storage for a short period of time or a long amount of time.

The building will feature apartments that are climate-controlled as well as flats that are not climate-controlled so that it can cater to the needs of its varied customer base.

In addition, a wide range of specialized services will be available on-site, such as the opportunity for self-storage as well as the renting of trucks, and the movement of products.

According to James Vitas, the Chief Executive Officer of VMD Companies, the firm is pleased to be in a position to provide our customers access to a facility that gives all of the amenities that are essential for completing their criteria for storage in order to satisfy their storage needs.

VMD Companies

Since 2004, VMD has been successful in generating considerable financial returns by taking part in opportunistic commercial real estate purchases that create value. Because VMD has such a profound understanding of the real estate industry’s fundamental principles, these investments are within reach.

They follow a method that is entrepreneurial in character, creative in nature, and hands-on in nature, and they are a corporation that has its origins in New England. Because of who they are and what they have been through, they are informed about all the different types of assets.

As a direct consequence of their growth in Florida, they have high expectations that they will be able to provide the highest possible quality of service to their clientele at all times, and this gives them reason for optimism.

The fact that the business has established rules that are favorable to the environment at each of its sites is a source of tremendous pride for the organization. They declare in their mission statement that one of their aims is “to eliminate waste while enhancing performance,” and this objective is something that can be observed at each of their sites. This objective is something that can be seen at each of their locations.

They have been able to significantly reduce their carbon footprint over the course of the past few years as a result of the investments that they have made in renewable energy sources such as solar panels and wind turbines, and it is likely that this trend will continue with this new business endeavor that they have embarked upon.

In 2012, the New Hampshire Planners Associate and the American Society of Civil Engineers honored VMD by bestowing upon it the title of project of the year. The State of New Hampshire presented the VMD with the project of the year award in the year 2016. 

Since James has been in charge of VMD, the company has actively managed and developed approximately 800 million dollars’ worth of real estate, with projects spanning the country from New England to South Florida.

James Vitas and VMD Companies are pleased to announce the imminent grand opening of their brand new 150,000-square-foot distribution facility that will be located in Wildwood, Florida. 

This cutting-edge facility provides customers with a variety of storage solutions, including climate-controlled units as well as self-storage options along with other services such as truck rental and moving supplies – making it the ideal choice for businesses looking for secure short or long-term storage solutions!

In addition, because of their dedication to environmentally friendly practices, they are able to cut down on waste while simultaneously increasing productivity at each of their locations, which positions them as one of the most dependable businesses in their sector. 


A pharmacist by profession turns into a reality TV star – Roxanne Hamedi

Dreams do come true, and that’s just not for fairytales but in real life as well. Some people believe that they have their lives sorted with everything planned out and placed in the order they have set. However, there comes an opportunity that changes everything and turns your life around for the better. Such is the story of pharmacist turned reality TV celebrity – Roxanne Hamedi

The 29-year-old, gorgeous Persian-Scottish woman who can speak both English and Farsi fluently earned her degree in pharmacy. Soon after completing her degree, she started practicing, and it was during a relationship that she moved to London. Even then, she continued her practice. But life had something else in store for her. During her stay in the UK, Roxanne Hamedi was spotted on Instagram and was approached for a meeting with MTV London. After a few meetings, she was asked to pack her bags, get into a cab and go to Newcastle, where she would be quarantined for two weeks with a bunch of strangers on MTV’s show Geordie Shore 

Talking about how one thing led to another, Roxanne Hamedi shared, “I always wanted to help people as I am quite a caring person, so my job as a pharmacist is quite rewarding for me.” She further stated, “However, there was a time when I wanted to try out a new direction because I have also always wanted to be famous too. Hence, when the opportunity came up for Geordie Shore, I just couldn’t miss it.”  

Roxanne was featured on the series 22 of Geordie Shore called “Hot Single Summer,” where the original cast would go in and meet other “singles,” and then they dated each other. Every few days, someone would be eliminated and leave the house. The idea was to find your soulmate by meeting and dating different people in a closed environment. “I fell for a guy called James Tindale, and our connection was very strong from the beginning. He made it clear that I was the only girl he wanted, and he had planned so many nice dates for us inside the house. We also saw each other a few times after filming for 4 weeks,” Roxanne explained. “Basically, I was the only contestant to have gone into the house from the start and finished until the end, where James asked me to be his girlfriend. I essentially won the show,” she added. 

For Roxanne, doing reality TV was a completely different ballgame that changed her life. It was not like a job but was fun, glamorous and exciting, something completely different from healthcare. It was like a challenge, something she had never experienced before, and she loved it to bits. The excitement, the adrenaline rush, the unpredictability of the job, everything enthralled her. The fame and the love she received post-show motivated her to work more on the small screen. In fact, she aspires to become a TV presenter and appear on shows like Strictly Come Dancing, Dancing on Ice, or I am A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here.  

The pharmacist turned TV celebrity believes consistency and hard work can do wonders for you. “Rome wasn’t built in a day, and if it were that easy, everyone would be doing it. So, nothing worthwhile comes easy basically, and I believe that when you put the effort in, along with having the right resources and also a bit of luck, you can achieve anything,” she stressed. “Consistency is the most important thing to stay focused on your goals. Whether it is getting up early to go to the gym and then working and being able to sleep at a good time so that you can get your 8 hours a day. Whatever it is you do in life, your efforts have to be consistent in order to achieve your goals,” Roxanne reiterated. 

The intelligent and classy pharmacist who set out on a journey to becoming a TV star wants to make a difference in the world, be it through her healthcare work or her TV persona. She is kind, compassionate and believes in the goodness of people. She wants to utilize her celebrity status to talk about people’s health and wellness and help them do better in life. 

Roxanne Hamedi is living the best of both worlds. In her line of pharmacy, she gets to help people through her medical advice and feels immensely rewarded when people come up to her and tell her how her advice helped them get better. While working on TV, she gets to express her alter ego and has fun with life. Being true to her work makes her admired by people both on-screen and off-screen. And as far as her journey to success is concerned… the journey has just begun. 

What are the growth factors of cryptocurrencies and the primary market?

What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a safe, digital and decentralized shape of payment. Its features are widely spread among Internet users, making it a secure and convenient way to complete transactions.

Bitcoin, the foremost cryptocurrency, was established in 2009 and remains the most famous today. Many people are curious about cryptocurrencies to trade and profit, but speculators sometimes inflate the prices by a lot.

Using cryptocurrency to buy daily goods and services is becoming more prevalent. However, most people still invest in cryptocurrencies like other assets like stocks or precious metals. While cryptocurrency is an exciting new asset class, buying into it can be risky because before investing, you must research how each system works fully.

What is the size of the cryptocurrency market?

With the cryptocurrency market expected to reach $2.2 billion by 2026, As data security concerns continue to grow, there is an increasing demand for more robust and transparent data security solutions. Blockchain technology is one of the numerous promising solutions in this area, and its implementation in digital payment systems is driving the growth of the blockchain market.

The cryptocurrency industry is booming as digital currencies such as bitcoin, Ethereum, and bitcoin are becoming increasingly prevalent worldwide. Due to the popularity of Artificial Intelligent based cryptocurrency platforms, numerous companies have decided to concentrate on their development.

Growth factors of the cryptocurrency market

As the popularity of bitcoin continues to grow, so does the importance of cryptocurrency. More people are curious about funding in bitcoin, as the value of public bitcoin has increased in current years. It makes bitcoin an ideal investment option for those interested in cryptocurrencies.

The two Major markets with the most significant growth potential are:

The financial crisis and regional instability

Financial crises can have devastating effects on economies around the world. It is just one of the many causes why cryptocurrencies are becoming favored. Unlike traditional fiat currencies, cryptocurrencies are not subject to the same fluctuations and volatility. It makes them a safer investment in times of financial uncertainty. And with the unstable economic structure of more and more countries, this is becoming a significant market driver for cryptocurrencies.

increase in bitcoin adoption

Bitcoin is a popular digital currency that is growing in value and adoption around the world. The advantages of using bitcoin, such as convenience and gratuities, improve its market value. Many created countries are shifting towards digital currency, which is anticipated to help the cryptocurrency market increase over the years.

The 5 best cryptocurrencies to invest in 2023

  1. Bitcoin (BTC)

Bitcoin is digital money that uses math and cryptography for security. Any central bank or government does not control it, and it is not a material currency. You can use it for goods and services or communicate them to others via a computer without using a bank.

  1. Ethereum (ETH)

Ethereum is a decentralized podium that runs smart contracts: applications that no 3rd party can manipulate or interfere with. It makes it the ideal place to run applications that ought to be secure and fraud-free.

  1. Tether (USDT)

Tether is an innovative digital currency that provides users with a unique way to transact. Tether differs from other digital currencies in that it is backed by actual dollars that are held in reserve. 

  1. BNB (BNB)

BNB is a digital currency with a particular focus on stability. BNB offers holders various benefits, including trading fee discounts and access to exclusive features on the Binance exchange.

  1. USD Currency (USDC)

USD Coin (USDC) is the ideal digital currency for those who want a stable value like the dollar. USDC can be converted to dollars on request, creating it an ideal option for anyone looking for a dedicated and stable digital currency.

Project Tokens, Token Types, and Crypto Games

A project Token is a type of cryptocurrency managed by a group of people instead of a central authority. There are three different types of tokens:

  • Utility tokens are like the keys to a platform – they give you access to the platform’s services. So if you’re looking to use a particular platform, you’ll need to get your hands on the correct utility token first.
  • Security tokens are subject to financial regulation. It means they must be registered with the relevant financial authorities and comply with all relevant laws and regulations.
  • Card payments are a transaction made to pay for goods and services on or offline. Many cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, can be used to make card payments.

Metaverse Project: A New World of Gaming

The metaverse is an online universe that runs on the blockchain. In the metaverse, users can explore different digital worlds, explore casino «districts,» lottery sambad, offering slots, poker, roulette, blackjack, and more, go to shows and nightclubs, and even purchase real estate. Some platforms within the metaverse are more developed than others, with their land parcels, decentralized governmental structures, and native tokens.

We have 5 best Project Token games:

  1. Axi Infinity
  2. Decentraland
  3. Sandbox
  4. Illuvium
  5. Chain of Alliances

Unplug From The Tech World and Plug Into Happi’s World!

Technology has undeniably had a major impact on society today, which is why Sue Tobert’s book Happi’s World provides a way to “unplug” from technology and enjoy a relaxing pastime with one’s self or with family and friends. 

The book has become a favorite among many individuals, no matter how old or young, because of how it presents itself: a three-in-one pastime activity book that offers coloring mandalas, word searches, and yoga. Happi, the main character, is a charming lemur who does yoga to stay calm and strong. Happi’s World was inspired by the idea of Happi imagining himself in places that bring him happiness.

“This fun activity book does have many benefits: it releases stress, promotes a sense of calm and relaxation, improves focus, and strengthens fine and gross motor skills in children. It’s also a great way for everyone to unplug from the electronic world of today,” Sue shared.

The three-in-one book is unique for its mandalas, word searches, and yoga. Kids, in particular, can enjoy doing basic yoga poses and searching for words and for Happi, who is hidden among the mandalas throughout the pages. Some fun facts about the ring-tailed lemurs are also included at the end of the book.

Sue saw the positive effects of yoga and mandala coloring on children’s social, emotional, and physical development, which inspired her to create Happi’s World. Furthermore, after 33 years in her remarkable teaching career, Sue wanted to help out struggling young learners further by integrating her experience as an educator and her mastery of kids’ yoga through a one-of-a-kind tutoring program she calls Yogademics.

“I had been doing yoga myself for a while and really loved it. I started incorporating yoga poses into my teaching and using mandalas in my classroom before both became popular!” Sue shared. “All this led to me writing and winning two Hamilton Education Foundation Grants: ‘Homework Without Tears’ and ‘Yoga, It’s Elementary,’ which I presented one year at the annual NJ Teacher Convention,” she added.

In addition to its accolades, Happi’s World also won second place in both The Moonbeam Child’s Book Award and The Purple Dragon Book Award contest for 2022, renowned for being a “great book for kids, families, teachers, occupational therapists, and anyone who likes to color.”

Happi’s World is perfect for families who want to spend time together through a calm and engaging activity. Although it touches on yoga, readers do not need to have existing knowledge of the exercises to enjoy the book’s easy-to-follow instructions. Furthermore, adults can enjoy the book and revisit their inner child as they go through the book, making it an ideal self-relaxing hobby or a delightful gift for whatever occasion.

Mortgage applications advance as interest rates decline

As homeowners and prospective buyers look for cheaper mortgage rates, the number of mortgage applications has been steadily declining for several months.


The Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index shows that applications rose 3.2% over the prior week.

The 30-year fixed-rate conforming mortgage average contract interest rate increased by 0.1 percentage point last week, reaching 6.42%.

The points for loans requiring a 20% down payment consequently increased from 0.63 to 0.64.

Since last month, rates have been declining as a result of official claims that inflation is falling.

Tuesday interest rates

Interest rates dropped as a result of the announcement of the November consumer price index on Tuesday.

According to Mortgage News Daily, the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage has dropped to 6.28%.

The rate is currently at its lowest since the middle of September.

The fall has been timed to coincide with a lower-than-expected report on the consumer price index for November.

Investors flocked to US Treasury bonds once the study was published, which reduced yields.

Bond market

“The second consecutive month of reassuring CPI data continues to build a case that inflation has turned a corner,” said Mortgage News Daily CEO Matthew Graham on Tuesday.

“But rates will be careful about reading too much into that potential shift given the volatility of the data in recent months.”

“The bond market will also want to see what the Fed does with this info in tomorrow’s updated Fed rate forecasts in the dot plot.

Read also: Drug shortages persist across the US as pharmacy shelves remain empty

Rate movement

Beginning in January 2022, mortgage rates increased quickly throughout the spring and summer.

By the end of October, the 30-year-fixed rate had jumped from 3% to almost 7%.

According to the National Association of Realtors, existing home sales have fallen for nine consecutive months and decreased by 24% in October compared to the same month last year.

However, rates significantly decreased in November due to a weaker inflation signal from the October CPI.

In the end, the rate for November came to 6.63%.

Cautiously, some people said the lower costs would make people want to revisit the market.

The temporary August rate drop was announced by Doug Yearley, CEO of luxury homebuilder Toll Brothers, during the call with investors to discuss the company’s quarterly results.

“There are some very very modest green shoots over the last few weeks, as rates have come down,” said Yearley.

“But I am not ready to get sucked back into the conversation we had in August when we felt better.”


Redfin, a real estate website, reports that in November, homebuyers’ desires started to rise.

The firm’s demand index grew 1.5% from the previous month.

However, it was also down 20% from the same time last year over the four weeks that ended on November 27.

“There have been a handful of pieces of relatively good news for the housing market lately, but we’re far from out of the woods,” said Taylor Marr, the deputy chief economist for Redfin.

“Key indicators of homebuying demand will likely be teetering on a knife’s edge with every data release that comes out related to the Fed’s path to eventually bringing rates down.”

Rate locks

Consumers did not lock in higher mortgage rates due to optimism, a standard indicator of future home sales.

Black Knight, a provider of mortgage technology and data, observes a 22% decline in rate locking from October to November.

Additionally, this year saw a 48% decrease in rate locking compared to last year.

“It’s still extremely unaffordable even with rates coming down, even with prices coming down in each of the last four months,” said Andrew Walden, the vice president at Black Knight.

“We’re still less affordable than when we were at the peak of the market in 2006, and you’re seeing that play out in the rate lock numbers.”

Walden highlights that inventory is still 40% below ideal levels despite homebuilders’ ongoing exodus and the scarcity of eager sellers.

Even if prices and rates have decreased, they are still significantly higher than they need to be when compared to wages that, historically speaking, make housing accessible.

“As we move throughout 2023, you’re going to see prices continue to soften. You’re going to see incomes hopefully continue to grow and eat up some of that gap,” said Walden.

“I think, likely, we are going to see rates come down from where they are today, but it’s going to take an extended period of time to get there.”

Mortgage applications

Last week, 3% more mortgage applications for refinancing home loans were submitted.

They were still 85% lower than they had been the previous week despite this.

The rate decline from a high of nearly 7% in October broadened the tiny group of prospective borrowers who might benefit from a refinance.

The overall number of applications to buy a house for the week was 4% more than the week prior and 38% lower than in 2021.

The annual comparison is currently decreasing as rates fall.

MBA economist Joel Kan said the following in a press release:

“The ongoing moderation in home-price growth, along with further declines in mortgage rates, may encourage more buyers to return to the market in the coming months.”

Read also: Carvana faces bankruptcy after cutting workforce

Rates and demand

Mortgages with adjustable rates are now available due to the decline in demand brought on by lower interest rates.

Applications for ARMs dropped from 13% in October to 7.7% last week.

ARMs involve greater risk despite having lower rates because, after their fixed maturities, they return to the prevailing market rate.

Mortgage rates decreased after the release of the CPI statistics on Tuesday, but they can increase again after the Federal Reserve publishes its most recent interest rate change on Wednesday.

“A friendly enough Fed could easily break the range, but we have our doubts as to how much fuel the Fed will want to add to the fire,” said Mortgage News Daily chief operating officer Matthew Graham.

“If anything, the Fed is more likely to try to temper the exuberance because the exuberance is counterproductive to the Fed’s goals.”


Mortgage rates drop after CPI report, but the housing market is far from out of the woods

Mortgage demand inches higher as interest rates move lower