Archive July 2019 XX, No. 7

Surgical Smoke: A Blueprint for Legislative Success

Two states now protect OR workers from surgical smoke. Could yours be next?

Dan O

Dan O'Connor, Editor-in-Chief


ALL CLEAR Rhode Island (2018), Colorado (2019) and Oregon (2020) are the first 3 states to pass mandatory smoke evacuation laws.

Jennifer Pennock is AORN's senior manager of government affairs, though lately a better title for her might be senior manager of smoke evacuation legislation efforts. There's lots of excitement around smoke evacuation legislation, and rightly so, and Ms. Pennock is right in the thick of the advocacy efforts, lobbying state legislators and other policymakers for mandatory smoke-free OR laws and educating them about the dangers of exposure to surgical smoke.

With new laws in Rhode Island and Colorado requiring hospitals and surgery centers to adopt and implement a policy that prevents human exposure to surgical smoke via the use of a smoke evacuation system for all planned procedures likely to generate surgical smoke, and a similar bill pending in Oregon, perioperative nurse advocates across the country are starting conversations with their legislators with an eye toward advancing similar legislation in their own states.

"After we came back from AORN Global Surgical Conference & Expo, everybody was really excited and wanted smoke-free laws passed in their state yesterday," says Ms. Pennock, only half-joking.

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