The Government's ban on smoking came into effect on 1st July 2007, but a town in the Potteries has so far managed to avoid its consequences, due to a blunder by the local council.
Stoke-on-Trent, where they make pots, has 450,000 smokers, all of whom have been puffing madly away since the beginning of the month, when council officials forgot to display posters announcing the ban on smoking in public places.
Dissenters to the ban have tampered with the road sign that welcomes vistors to the town, by amending the friendly message to "Welcome to Smoke-on-Trent", and those visitors have been well-and-truly flooding in.
Council executive Martin Howler said:
"We've really messed this up. All the smokers in England have been dropping by to light up. There is a huge cloud of smoke over Stoke. You can't see the sun."
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has asked for a report into the gaffe, which has seriously undermined the Government's attempt to tackle the smoking issue.
Smokers Rights Groups are celebrating the omission, and say that, because the ban was introduced on 1st July, but did not apply in Stoke, the government may never be able to ban public smoking there.
Nick O'Teen, of Puff Yourself To Death For Britain, said:
"I came all the way from Halifax for a fag. I love the name Smoke-on-Trent. This will be our new base from which we will fight this unfair legislation."