Tomasz Sienicki / Wikimedia Commons

San Antonio may raise the age for tobacco purchases from 18 to 21, pending the results of an ongoing survey by Metro Health. 

Wendy Rigby / Texas Public Radio

What if your phone could help you quit smoking or lose weight? That’s the idea behind a new texting service created by San Antonio medical professionals and engineers. It's a new way to use your mobile device to improve your health.

A voice on a video says "quitting smoking is the best and most life-saving decision that you can make." That’s the greeting from a new automated messaging system called Quitxt, a program developed by UT Health San Antonio and University of Texas at San Antonio engineers to help smokers kick the habit.

Older people who smoke may think there's no reason to give up the habit. After all, hasn't the damage to their bodies already been done?

But it turns out there's a benefit to quitting even later in life. Research published Wednesday in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine finds that older adults who quit smoking in their 60s had a lower chance of dying in the years that followed than contemporaries who kept smoking.

California's decision to legalize marijuana was touted as a victory for those who had argued that the state needed a system to decriminalize, regulate and tax it.

But the new law, approved by voters on Nov. 8, also could be a boon to the tobacco industry at a time when cigarette smoking is down and cigarette companies are looking for ways to expand their market, according to researchers in Los Angeles County and around the state.

The number of cigarette smokers in the United States has dropped by 8.6 million since 2005 — and that fall could be accelerated by a tobacco tax just passed in California.