Three More States Adopt Surgical Smoke Evacuation Laws

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Three More States Adopt Surgical Smoke Evacuation Laws

Eighteen states have enacted legislation since 2018

Three more states—Minnesota, Virginia and West Virginia—have adopted surgical smoke evacuation requirements for ASCs and hospitals in the 2024 legislative session. Pushed at the state level primarily by the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN), the issue has seen sustained interest since Rhode Island enacted the first requirement in 2018, with 14 other states—Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon and Washington—following with their own laws in the six years since then.

Minnesota SF 3852, signed into law May 17, requires healthcare employers beginning January 1, 2025, to use smoke evacuation systems during procedures that are likely to generate surgical smoke. Virginia S 537, signed into law March 28, is essentially identical, requiring hospitals and ASCs to adopt such policies beginning July 1, 2025. West Virginia HB 4376, signed into law March 22, instead directs the state’s Office of the Inspector General to propose rules on or before January 1, 2025, requiring healthcare facilities that use energy-generating devices to use a smoke evacuation system during procedures likely to produce surgical smoke.

Since Rhode Island first enacted its requirements in 2018, there was only one year, 2020, in which no state enacted surgical smoke evacuation requirements. That year, the COVID-19 pandemic created massive disruption to state legislative sessions. Illinois, Kentucky and Oregon enacted their requirements in 2021, followed by Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, New York and Washington in 2022. In 2023, California, Louisiana, Missouri, New Jersey and Ohio enacted requirements. In addition to the legislation enacted in Minnesota, Virginia and West Virginia this year, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Pennsylvania have active legislation on the issue.

Twenty-six states—Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia—have introduced 81 bills requiring hospitals and ASCs to implement surgical smoke evacuation policies since California introduced the first surgical smoke evacuation proposal in 2016. As AORN continues to push to make “smoke evacuation the law across the country and ensure that all operating rooms are surgical smoke-free,” expect to see the legislation appear in the remaining 32 states that do not have existing requirements.

Write Stephen Abresch with any questions.