A small study revealed that among a group of pregnant women surveyed, almost half were unaware that e-cigarettes contain nicotine or know that the devices can be addictive.

Almost half of the group of 316 pregnant women also believed e-cigarettes were less harmful to their fetuses than traditional cigarettes, when in fact the safety of using e-cigarettes while pregnant has not been determined, researchers say.

Victoria Coleman-Cowger, one of the study’s authors, said in an email that while e-cigarette use has increased considerably over the past few years, many people, including pregnant women, are not well informed about them.

“Our hope . . . was to gain a better understanding of how and how much e-cigarettes are being used by pregnant women, perceptions surrounding their use (including perceived risks of use), and motivations for use,” said Coleman-Cowger, the principal research scientist at Battelle Public Health Center for Tobacco Research in Baltimore, Maryland.

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