Carbon nanotubes have attracted considerable attention because their high aspect ratio leads to a large electric field enhancement and a low operating voltage. The dependence of environmental gases such as Ar, O2 on the emission current from carbon nanotube emitters was examined in this study. Based on our experiments, the current density is decreased in single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs), but is increased in multi-wall carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) as the vacuum level decreases from 10-7 Torr to 10-4 Torr by the inflow purging gases. The current density subsequently recovered as the vacuum level increased to 10-7 Torr when gas inflow stopped. From those results, we conclude that the MWNTs have completely different degradation characteristics in comparison to SWNTs. The increased current density of an MWNT in the high-pressure range of 10-4 Torr is a significant finding and would be widely applicable to low cost vacuum packages.