Advocacy

A mission of the Georgia Council is to advocate for all perioperative professionals in our state.

Now is the time for Georgia to pass legislation to protect the surgical team and patients from the harmful effects of surgical smoke. Five states—Rhode Island, Colorado, Kentucky, Illinois, and Oregon have passed smoke evacuation legislation. Six states have active bills, and eight states have legislation in process.

Georgia has two bills– HB731 and SB19 to protect perioperative professionals from the dangers of inhaling surgical smoke. We need your help to encourage legislators to pass our bills in 2022. Find your legislator by going to www.OpenStates.org Type your home address into the search box to learn the names of your Georgia State Senator and Georgia House Representative. All contact information for legislators in on www.house.ga.gov or www.senate.ga.gov. Contact your legislators by email, a phone call, or a personal visit with a request to support HB731 and SB19.

Like cigarette smoke, surgical smoke can be seen and smelled. It is the result of human tissue contact with lasers and electrosurgical instruments used for dissection and hemostasis during surgery. The tools are used in approximately 90% of all surgeries. The smoke from the tools is carcinogenic and mutagenic and contains over 150 hazardous chemicals.

A journal article by Hill, et al estimates the average daily impact of surgical smoke to the OR team is equivalent to smoking 27-30 unfiltered cigarettes (Hill, 2012). In fact, perioperative nurses and technologists–the OR team members who spend the most time in the OR, report twice as many respiratory issues as compared to the general population (Ball, 2010 & 2021).

A 2020 Level 1 research paper documented the harmful chemical in surgical smoke and the effectiveness of using smoke evacuation and filtration (Tokuda, 2020). In a December 2020 article entitled “Alleviating the dangers of surgical smoke,” the Joint Commission recommended the implementation of procedures for the removal of surgical smoke through the use of smoke evacuation and filtration (Joint Commission, 2020).

Joint Commission. (2020). Alleviating the dangers of surgical smoke: Quick Safety, #56, December 2020.

Tokuda et al. (2020). Prospective randomized study evaluating the usefulness of a surgical smoke evacuation system in operating rooms for breast surgery. Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicolgy, 15:13.

Hill D.S., O’Neill, J.K., Powell, R.J., & Oliver, D.W. 2012. “Surgical smoke-a health hazard in the operating theatre: a study to quantify exposure and a survey of the use of smoke extractor systems in UK plastic surgery units.” Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery, 65(7) 911-916

Ball K. Surgical smoke evacuation guidelines: compliance among perioperative nurses. AORN J. 2010;92(2)142-149. Repeated 2021