BEIJING — Nearly every day in China, women go to work in smoke-filled offices, exposed to the fumes of cigarettes smoked mainly by male colleagues. After work is over, many go home to breathe secondhand smoke created by husbands or other family members.

China is known as the Smoking Dragon, but its addiction to tobacco isn’t shared between the sexes. According to the most recent national survey, 288 million men smoked regularly in China in 2010, compared with 13 million women.

Now women are striking back. Last fall, China’s State Council proposed the nation’s toughest restrictions yet on indoor smoking and the marketing of tobacco. The announcement was a major victory for China’s tobacco-control movement, which includes women who’ve been on the front lines for decades.

“This is a very important step,” said Yang Gonghuan, an epidemiologist who’s been documenting tobacco’s toll on Chinese public health since the 1980s. “It is very difficult to push for these kinds of changes on a national level. … It has taken many, many years.”

Although China is known for its smog and other environment problems, no public health issue poses more of a threat than tobacco. An estimated 1 million Chinese die each year from lung cancer and other smoking-related diseases.

Smoking rates have declined in recent years, but more than half of Chinese men smoke regularly, according to the World Health Organization.