Perhaps, though not discussed in this article, activating more axial extensors (vestbulospinal pathways, things like your erector spinae) could be somewhat protective, in that it could, at least theoretically, help to normalize flexor/extensor ratios in the lower extremity.
We see flexor dominance (increased corticospinal activity) in many cases of lower extremity problems causing an imbalance. Perhaps activating extensors the lower extremity (tibialis interior, extensor digitorum longest, etc.) could explain, in part, some of these (controversial) results.
We’re not recommending or condoning taking up smoking to preserve your knees. This is merely food for thought in the ever-changing landscape of clinical application.