“Smoke-free” references the prevention of surgical smoke, a by-product of thermal tissue destruction caused by lasers or electrosurgical devices, in the operating room environment. Consensus organizations, government bodies, and healthcare organization guidelines recommend that surgical smoke be evacuated at the source by local exhaust ventilation (LEV) (i.e., smoke evacuators or wall suctions with inline filters).
Not only does surgical smoke have a strong odor while obstructing the surgeon’s view of the surgical site, but it has also been shown to contain toxic gases, viruses, and bacteria. Over one-half million healthcare workers, including surgeons, nurses, surgical technologists, and others, are exposed to surgical smoke each year. While short-term side effects of surgical smoke are known to include irritation of the eye, nose, and throat and asthma (or asthma-like symptoms), little is known about the health effects of chronic exposure to surgical smoke.
States with surgical smoke-free legislation:
• Colorado (2019)
• Rhode Island (2018)
The newest states going smoke-free:
States that have introduced legislation:
• New Jersey
Looking for more information on solutions to go smoke-free? Be sure to check out VISIMAX® Laparoscopic Smoke Evacuation System.
 Steege AL; Boiano JM; Sweeney MH. Secondhand smoke in the operating room? Precautionary practices lacking for surgical smoke. Am J Ind Med 2016 Nov; 59(11):1020-1031. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajim.22614
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