The Government plans to ban cigarette vending machines from pubs in England from 1 October 2011.
The ban will cost a huge £709m to the industry, smokers and the Government in lost revenue, according to estimates from the Department of Health.
It came after the Heath Bill, which includes the ban on vending machines, received Royal Assent yesterday.
A consultation on the plan has now been launched, which asks if the regulations will be enforceable and have the desired effect. It ends on 12 January.
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the Welsh Assembly said it would release a consultation on its plans for restricting machines in Wales - including a proposed date for banning them - in the New Year.
Although the industry in general objects to the ban on vending machines, a lead-in time of almost two years will be welcomed by pubs that are currently struggling in the recession.
Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers spokeswoman Kate Nicholls said: "It's further nanny state intervention and further evidence that the Government doesn't understand pubs."
But she added: "The one saving grace is that there will be sufficient time to make the changes."
Bill Sharp, licensee of the Kings Arms in Borough, London, was critical of the timing.
"It's New Labour spin. They give it a lead in time and everybody accepts it. If it came in tomorrow there would be an outcry."
A British Beer and Pub Association spokesman said: "A delay in implementation won't be a comfort to customers or publicans when it finally does happen.
"The ban was unnecessary, and it means that pubs will have to withdraw a service valued by many customers. This is not welcome, given the pressures the industry faces."
Pubs will still be able to sell tobacco products from behind the bar. However, from 2013, displays can't be visible to the public.