The last paragraph of the article is way too fatalistic for me. Just as we can avoid certain activities that might shorten our lives, so too we can engage in behaviors likely to give us a longer, healthier existence. I've never subscribed to the old adage: "when your number's up, your number's up." Clearly we can do things that bring that number forward, or we can do things that push that number further away. Will an extra decade of life be filled with misery, or it will be ten years of joy? Who can say, but I'd like to find out.
Years ago in philosophy class we talked about a logical fallacy call "post hoc, ergo propter hoc," which in English means that just because one thing happens after another thing, it doesn't mean that the first thing CAUSED the second. Yet we fall into that logical trap all the time. That's the problem I have with observational studies or recommendations based solely on personal experience.
Just one example: my wife's mother, now 90, suffers from painful arthritis, so she orders some patent medicine from a woman's magazine, takes the pills, and feels "better." So, she concludes the medicine was worth the purchase and tells all her friends how great it is. But, in reality that medicine may have nothing at all to do with the lessening of her pain. Maybe her cycle of pain has just come full circle and she's in a period of relief, which would have happened with or without the medicine. Or, maybe any one of countless other factors has resulted in a temporary lessening of her pain.