A fake cigarette prompted armed police to swoop on a coach on the M6 Toll road and close the motorway for more than four hours.
Forty eight passengers on the Megabus Preston to London service were led off the coach and forced to sit apart in a cordon on the opposite carriageway.
The road was closed near Lichfield before police said they were no longer treating the incident as suspicious.
Police said they received a "genuine report" of vapour escaping from a bag.
Armed officers, troops, firefighters and bomb disposal experts all went to the scene.
Well, it's nice to see that we're prepared for such an event but I'm struggling to understand what was going through the mind of the person who reported it. Let's get some perspective; a terrorist attack is a rarity, but when they do happen, they tend to be rather elaborate and spectacular - think the London bombings on 7/7 - rush hour, thousands of people trying to get to work, exploding trains and buses, people trapped deep underground. So why the fuck would a terrorist trouble themselves with a piss-poor target of 48 people on bus travelling along a motorway in the middle of nowhere? The mind boggles...
The knock-on effect of this will no doubt be the usual government overreaction with some sort of clampdown on electronic cigarettes, be it banning them indoors or on public transport being pushed to the top of the list of priorities.