US conservative commentator Ann Coulter made a Fox News appearance in which she attacked “nanny state” anti-smoking health laws by comparing them to the idea of having anti-gay laws to combat HIV and AIDS.

Mediaite reported on Saturday’s “Geraldo At Large” programme segment, which was supposed to be a debate on New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s public health laws, and began with a discussion on his proposal to keep cigarettes in stores out of public displays.

While her opponent, commentator MeMe Roth, supported the proposed law, Coulter dismissed is as “nanny state” legislation, and suggested instead to “have a death penalty for smokers”.

Roth defended anti-smoking laws based on the cost of treating diseases caused by cigarettes, to which Coulter responded: “I think you’re going to have to do something about the gay bathhouses, because AIDS is very expensive, and if I’m paying for it, how about discouraging that behavior?”

The show’s host, Geraldo Rivera, cuts in to back up Coulter: “Aren’t the majority of AIDS patients on some kind of government coverage, because AIDS medication costs so much money?”

“AIDS doesn’t only impact homosexuals,” Roth countered.

“It’s mostly, in this country, it is a homosexual behaviour,” says Coulter. “I’m just saying, if your argument is ‘Smoking: we all have to pay,’ then why not ‘Sodomy: we all have to pay.’”

Ann Coulter is an opponent of same-sex marriage and civil partnerships, a supporter of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and is well known for having told a meeting of gay Republicans “Marriage is not a civil right – you’re not black!”