Bill Would Require Smoke Evacuators for Laser Procedures in Oregon

Posted By American Med Spa Association, Friday, March 29, 2019

A bill introduced in Oregon would require the use of smoke evacuation systems to prevent exposure to surgical smoke in hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. The bill was introduced at the request of House Interim Committee on Health Care and is known as House Bill 2194 (HB 2194). You can view the text of HB 2194 in full here; it has been referred to the Health Care Committee and awaits further consideration. Senator Shemia Fagan also just introduced an identical bill in the Senate called Senate Bill 1032, which may help to move this bill through the legislative process more quickly.
HB 2194 would require the adoption of policies to use a specialized smoke evacuator during procedures. In the context of HB 2194, “surgical smoke” is any by-product that results from an energy device used on tissue. Energy-generating devices are not limited to lasers—they would include any device that uses heat, laser, electricity or another type of energy. HB 2194 would require that the surgical smoke be captured or neutralized at the generation sight before it has a chance to come into contact with the eyes or respiratory tract of anyone in the room. Based on that language, it appears that these “smoke evacuation systems” would need to be positioned very close to the surgical site to capture or vacuum up the smoke plume. Currently, HB 2194 would only apply to procedures performed in licensed hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers. Auditing for compliance would become part of the onsite inspection requirement.
Recent studies have indicated that surgical smoke can pose exposure risks similar to other secondhand smoke exposure, so it is likely that other states may introduce similar legislation. Although this bill and a similar one in Colorado only apply to hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers, it is possible that future bills may include medical spas or laser hair removal facilities as well.