Every year, the World Health Organization (WHO) observes “World No Tobacco Day (WNTD)” on May 31. The campaign aims to spread awareness about the risks of tobacco use and what steps can be taken to make the world tobacco free. Reports from the World Health Organization (WHO) suggest that tobacco causes 8 million deaths every year. More than 7 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. Evidence released in 2021 shows that smokers are more likely to develop severe disease with COVID-19 compared to non-smokers. Tobacco is the leading cause of respiratory disorders like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, tuberculosis, and other lung diseases. Tobacco and tobacco smoke contain thousands of chemicals. Nicotine is the deadly chemical in tobacco that people using tobacco related products get addicted to. Tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, and most e-cigarettes contain nicotine. Cigarette smoking is the most common form of tobacco use worldwide. Smoking cessation treatments help people to quit smoking. While documenting such treatments, primary care physicians and healthcare providers may have to report the toxic effect of tobacco products as well. Outsourced billing services from professional providers can help practitioners to use the proper service and diagnosis codes and get reimbursed for cessation services.

The 2021 one-day observance aims to inform the public about the dangers of using tobacco and its negative impact on health as well as the exploitation of the nicotine industry that is geared towards the youth in particular. It also aims to reduce the diseases and deaths caused by tobacco consumption and highlights what WHO is doing to fight the tobacco epidemic and to protect future generations. In 2008, the WHO banned any kind of advertisement or promotion of tobacco.

Cigarette smoking leads to disease and disability and harms nearly every organ of the body. Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic health conditions. The impact also extends beyond the smoker. Exposure to second-hand smoke also causes stroke, lung cancer, and coronary heart disease in adults. In fact, children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are at increased risk of developing SIDS, impaired lung function, acute respiratory infections, middle ear disease, and more frequent and severe asthma attacks. People using tobacco are generally classified as symptomatic or asymptomatic (www.lung.org). Symptomatic patients are those who use tobacco and have been diagnosed with a disease. Asymptomatic patients are those who use tobacco but do not have symptoms of tobacco-related disease. When diagnosing for tobacco use, there are two coding options. Codes are assigned based on whether there is dependence on tobacco or not.

  • ICD-10 F17 codes – If the patient is dependent on tobacco
  • Z codes – If there is no dependence on tobacco. Z codes cannot be combined with an F code.

The Z codes cannot be combined with an F17 code. Only one code should be used to report the patient’s tobacco use. For example, if the patient uses and is dependent, only the code for the dependence should be assigned.

ICD-10 Codes for Nicotine Dependence

Healthcare practices must make sure to partner with professional medical billing companies to benefit from the service of skilled medical billers and coders who are up-to-date with the changing ICD-10 codes. ICD-10 Codes for nicotine dependence include –

  • F17.20- Nicotine dependence, unspecified
  • F17.200 Nicotine dependence, unspecified, uncomplicated
  • F17.201 Nicotine dependence, unspecified, in remission
  • F17.203 Nicotine dependence, unspecified, with withdrawal
  • F17.208 Nicotine dependence, unspecified, with other nicotine-induced disorders
  • F17.209 Nicotine dependence, unspecified, with unspecified nicotine-induced disorders
  • F17.21- Nicotine dependence, cigarettes
    • F17.210 Nicotine dependence, cigarettes, uncomplicated
    • F17.211 Nicotine dependence, cigarettes, in remission
    • F17.218 Nicotine dependence, cigarettes, with other nicotine-induced disorders
    • F17.219 Nicotine dependence, cigarettes, with unspecified nicotine-induced disorders
  • F17.22- Nicotine dependence, chewing tobacco
    • F17.220 Nicotine dependence chewing tobacco uncomplicated
    • F17.223 Nicotine dependence chewing tobacco in remission
    • F17.228 Nicotine dependence chewing tobacco with other nicotine-induced disorders
    • F17.229 Nicotine dependence chewing tobacco with unspecified nicotine-induced disorders
  • F17.29- Nicotine dependence, other tobacco product
    • F17.290 Nicotine dependence, other tobacco product uncomplicated
    • F17.291 Nicotine dependence, other tobacco product in remission
    • F17.293 Nicotine dependence, other tobacco product with withdrawal
    • F17.298 Nicotine dependence, other tobacco product with other nicotine induced disorders
    • F17.299 Nicotine dependence, other tobacco product with unspecified nicotine induced disorders
  • Additional Options for Describing the Patient’s Tobacco Status

    • Z77.22 Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke
    • P98.81 Exposure to tobacco smoke in the perinatal period
    • O99.33- Tobacco use during pregnancy
    • T65.2 Toxic effect of tobacco and nicotine

    It was in 1987 that the Member States of the World Health Organization (WHO) created World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and diseases it causes. In 1987, the World Health Assembly passed Resolution WHA40.38, calling for 7 April 1988 to be “a world no-smoking day.” In 1988, Resolution WHA42.19 was passed, calling for the celebration of World No Tobacco Day, every year on 31st May. Initially, the purpose of WNTD was to discourage people from using tobacco or nicotine products for 24 hours. However, the observance became an annual event to create awareness on the exploitation of the tobacco industry and the harmful effects smoking causes on one’s health.

    The theme for the 2021 campaign is – “Commit to Quit”. Quitting can be challenging, especially with the added social and economic stress that have come as a result of the pandemic, but there are a lot of reasons to quit. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to millions of tobacco users saying they want to quit. About 780 million people worldwide say they want to quit, but only 30 percent of them have access to the tools that can help them do so. Together with partners, WHO will provide people with the essential tools and resources they need to make a successful quit attempt.

    As part of the World No Tobacco Day, the general public, governmental and non-governmental agencies organize a wide range of activities to make people aware about the health problems that tobacco use can potentially cause. These activities include – public marches and demonstrations (often with vivid banners), warning labels on cigarette boxes, advertising campaigns and educational programs, the introduction of bans on smoking in particular places or types of advertising and conducting meetings for anti-tobacco campaigners. Images symbolizing WNTD (like – clean ashtrays with flowers, ashtrays with images of body parts (such as the heart and lungs – which are damaged by tobacco use), images of the diseases caused by tobacco use and no smoking signs will also be displayed in public places. Moreover, laws restricting smoking in particular areas may come into effect and wide-reaching health campaigns may be launched.

    Take part in WNTD campaign on May 31 and join hands to spread public awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco use.