Fresh hope has been raised that the cigarette vending machine ban could be stopped by legal action.
Machine provider Sinclair Collis, part of Imperial Tobacco, has been granted leave to appeal the High Court's decision to reject its judicial review of the ban.
A hearing at the Court of Appeal is scheduled for 7 or 8 March and due to last one and a half days.
Imperial Tobacco senior UK corporate and legal affairs manager Colin Wragg said: "We are delighted that we have managed to get the appeal heard promptly and we will communicate further developments as they occur."
The ban is due to go live on 1 October England and Wales, with bans in Scotland and Northern Ireland also expected this year.
Sinclair Collis' appeal only relates to England, although if successful, the company will ask for the judgment to be applied to Wales and Northern Ireland as well.
In Scotland — where different legislation is being used to ban machines — the Court of Sessions heard a challenge by Sinclair Collis in November and a decision is pending.
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health said anecdotal evidence from trading standards has found pubs are already removing their machines ahead of any ban.
"Many pubs have got rid of them already because trading standards have told them about the ban," she said. "If they have any questions they should talk to their trading standards."
BII chief executive Neil Robertson said he'd also noticed this trend.
"I think people will gradually take them out," Robertson said.
Under current plans, English pubs that break the ban risk fines of up to £2,500.
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