The study involving 1,209 women in Beijing, China, the researchers found that women exposed to second-hand smoke were 67 pct more likely to develop PAD, compared to those who were not exposed.
Second-hand smoke exposure was defined as exposure to another person's tobacco smoke for at least 15 minutes daily for more than one day every week for at least two years during the past 10 years.
"This is the first study to show the adverse effects of secondhand smoke on peripheral artery disease in women," said Yao He, M.D., Ph.D., the study's lead author and professor of epidemiology at the Chinese PLA General Hospital in Beijing.
The study also showed that women exposed to second-hand smoke at 56 percent increased risk of ischemic stroke while the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) increased by 69 percent compared to those who were never exposed to secondhand smoke.
"This study broadens the finding about the detrimental health effects of passive smoking on heart disease and stroke," said Frank Hu, M.D., Ph.D., the study's senior author and professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass.
There were 431 prevalent cases of CHD, 172 cases of stroke out of which 109 had ischemic stroke and 271 cases of PAD were documented.
The prevalence of secondhand smoke exposure of 39.5 percent involved 477 individuals.
The majority, 414 were exposed in the home environment and 63 were exposed in the workplace.