Alcohol and tobacco use are important determinants of illness and have important country-specific dimensions. It's important to also consider them at community and primary health care (PHC) levels. A collaborative qualitative research (Delphi study and focus groups methodology) was conducted during the process of 10 new countries joining the European Union (EU) and implemented in culturally socio-economically different European countries: four EU (Belgium, Brussels region; Hungary, Pest County; Italy, Friuli Venezia Giulia region; Latvia, Riga region; Slovenia, Ljubljana region) and two Eastern European countries (Bulgaria, Sofia region; Russia, St. Petersburg region). Countries were chosen from the WHO international project according to the criteria noted in the application for EU INCO-COPERNICUS funding. Focus groups were conducted among lay people and PHC professionals in order to identify factors that influence (facilitate and prevent or minimize) PHC management of alcohol- and tobacco use-related problems. A Delphi study was conducted among four different groups in order to develop tasks for instances to be involved in community health policies. There are some limitations of such a qualitative study; e.g., such studies give ideas that cannot simply be transformed to actions in every country. In order to manage tobacco-and alcohol-related problems a comprehensive community-based approach, that also include PHC teams and policymakers, would be supported in participating countries
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