Coding smokers — or patients with history of smoking
When you look under “smoker” in the ICD-10 index, you’ll find, “See dependence, drug, nicotine.”
That means when you see physician documentation that the patient is a current or former smoker, you can code the appropriate nicotine dependence code, such as “nicotine dependence, cigarettes, F17.210,” or “history of nicotine dependence, Z87.891.”
Many common home health diagnoses such as COPD, HTN, CAD and CVA require an additional code to indicate tobacco dependence, exposure to secondhand smoke and history of tobacco use.
But do you know where to look for documentation of a history of smoking? Check in the Social History section of the M.D. notes, and chances are you’ll find it there.

Health Nuggets: A little dose of knowledge