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Oregon Becomes Fourth State to Go Surgical Smoke-Free

Publish Date: June 23, 2021

After three years of legislative advocacy, Oregon surgical staff and patients can look forward to surgical smoke-free operating rooms across the state. Rep. Sheri Schouten’s HB 2622 was signed into law on June 23, 2021 by Governor Kate Brown.

The new law goes into effect January 1, 2023. Under the law, facilities are directed to adopt policies that require the use of a smoke evacuation system during any surgical procedure that is likely to generate surgical smoke. The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration will ensure compliance during on-site inspections.

AORN member Brenda Larkin, MS, RN, ACNS-BC, CNS-CP, CSSM, CNOR moved to Oregon this past year and joined the team of dedicated Oregon advocates to engage legislators and testify before the House and Senate Health Committees virtually. “We are so grateful to Rep. Schouten for shepherding HB 2622 through the legislature this year. As a nurse, she knows how important it is to protect the health and safety of Oregon’s health care providers,” said Larkin.

HB 2622’s success was the culmination of over three years of direct advocacy work by a team of advocates including nurses, surgical technicians, anesthesiologists, nursing students and AORN leadership and staff. “AORN began working to lay the groundwork for surgical smoke evacuation legislation in Oregon in 2018. Congratulations to all of the Oregon surgical team members and their patients, and many thanks to our smoke bill advocates who responded to our advocacy requests and showed up in support of the legislation time and time again,” said Jennifer Pennock, MS, AORN Senior Manager of Government Affairs.

Oregon joins Rhode Island, Colorado, and Kentucky in providing smoke free operating rooms for all hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers across their states.