CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Professors at the University of Illinois are putting together studies on smoking among teenagers.

It’s called the Tobacco Youth Survey. The College of Applied Health Sciences received $650,000 from the Illinois Department of Public Health to select 150 schools across the state for this project. Students will answer several questions regarding e-cigarettes, traditional smoking, asthma and more.

Sarah Geiger, professor of applied health sciences, said it’s the first time in nearly 10 years Illinois has had a survey and a lot has changed in terms of tobacco use in that time. The problem is that it’s more prevalent among middle and school students. In 2022, more than four in 100 middle schoolers and about one in six high schoolers reported current use of a tobacco product.

She hopes these findings will help stop the use of harmful drugs once and for all.

“Although we can’t say, ‘Here’s the prevalence of smoking in your school,’ that’s not what our sampling is designed to do,” Geiger said. “But we can provide the school administrators, nurses, etc. Illinois-specific data so they can at least go, ‘Wow, here’s the system that our kids are living in,’ and it at least gives them a better idea than just the national rates.”

Geiger said they plan on finalizing school choices by spring of 2024. Those selected will also receive $1,000 to use at their discretion.